Pop Quiz! How much water do you need to drink for adequate hydration? Did you say 8 cups? You’re close but not exactly there yet. Hydration is a bit more personal than that. While 8 cups is a good general estimated goal, a better calculation is to divide your body weight (in pounds) in half. That is how many ounces you need in one day! Divide by 8 to get that number in cups. And if you are an athlete or pregnant, breastfeeding or just generally overheating, that number may need to increase even more.
Hydration is key for every single process in our body. Even the slightest amount of dehydration will impact the flow of our blood and lymph, the mobility of our joints and the function of our organs. Here are 10 signs that you are likely dehydrated:
- Dry Mouth
- Dry, Flakey or Tight Skin. Try the pinch test! Pinch some skin with your thumb and pointer finger. If it stay pinched and does not spring back, you need to hydrate!
- Dizzy or Light-Headed
- Consistent Headache
- Irritability or Confusion
- Excessive Fatigue or Drowsiness
- Dark Urine or Minimal Urine
- Muscle Cramps
- Low Blood Pressure
- Feeling Hungry (when you know you ate enough). This could also show up as sweet cravings that you don’t usually have.
Hydration itself is pretty intuitive, but there are ways to hydrate that might surprise you! Here are our top 5 hydration strategies (be sure to read #5!):
- Steady Sipping. Aka don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink something. If you struggle to remember to drink water try keeping a brightly colored thermos near all of your regular sitting or working stations. Make water taste good too by adding fruit, mint or even carbonated bubbles.
- Avoid Excessive Heat. Instead of focusing on more water intake, focus also on limiting water output. While some sweat is good for us, excessive sweat can lead to dehydration so keep cool. If you are feeling really hot, try a cool towel around the neck.
- Water-Rich Foods. The juicier the fruit or veggie, the better! Melons, citrus, berries, stonefruit, cucumber and even bell pepper are incredibly hydrating! Reach for smoothies, yogurt, kefir & even broths for more whole-food hydration.
- Herbal Tea. As long as there is no caffeine, it’s hydrating! Throw some tea bags to soak in the sun for the most delicious sun tea with some ice and a squeeze of lemon!
- Electrolyte Replenishment. So many people are not adequately nourished with micronutrients. Without these electrolytes, you can drink all the water you want but will pee most of it out and not actually hydrate your cells. So if you are drinking and peeing constantly, consider electrolyte replenishment. Now read this closely. We do not mean Gatorade or Pedialyte! These are sugar drinks! Instead you need a more salty combination! A simple mix of 2 cups water, ¼ teaspoon sea salt and 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice is a great addition to your daily water intake. Coconut water is an excellent alternative to Gatorade, or try electrolyte powders but watch ingredients for sugar in many brands. We like LMNT and we love using it in this tasty summer mocktail!
Cheers to your hydration!