Drink half your body weight in ounces of mineral-rich water each day to stay hydrated.
Lunch Hour Lesson #18
Water is the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population. The advice that “you only need to drink when you’re thirsty” perpetuates a myth. Being thirsty means you are already dehydrated and the body is demanding that its buffer be filled back up.
Exercise, hot weather, sugar, soda, coffee, black tea, and even some herbal teas are diuretic, which means they force water out of the body.
Also, eating foods high in table salt (like at a restaurant or processed foods) can be quite dehydrating. Ever noticed when you come home from a meal out that you’re just “starving” for water? That’s the table salt. Sea salt doesn’t create this effect.
The adult body is made up of about 60% water, with the lungs having a very high water content, at about 83%. What does all this water do?
Water is needed by the brain to manufacture hormones, it regulates body temperature, flushes waste (mainly in urine), lubricates joints, and helps deliver oxygen throughout the body. In terms of digestion, it forms our saliva to start off the digestive cascade, is a large component of stomach acid, and keeps our mucosal membranes functioning well.
I mentioned that the lungs have a high water content. When I learned this fact, I had an “a-ha!” light bulb moment. Back in college, I took a break-dancing class, and it was really intense. I noticed that after every class I would spend a few hours feeling like my lungs were irritated, coughing and wheezing.
I had never felt this way in the past, so I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. The inhaler that I was prescribed worked well, and I continued to use it for almost a decade, as I trained for and ran three half marathons and other endurance events.
But then, when I took my Nutritional Therapy Practitioner training program, I learned the lesson that I’m going to teach you today, which is to divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces of water each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would drink 75 oz. of water a day.
I started making a habit to do that, just because it was in our curriculum. After about three months, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t using my inhaler as much – in fact, I didn’t wheeze at all while exercising, even when my heart rate rose significantly, like when hiking up a big hill.
Online classes are on Zoom, a super easy-to-use video conferencing platform that you can download for free.
This completely confirmed the lesson to me; I had been relying on my thirst signals to tell me when to drink water, and it obviously wasn’t enough because my lungs were suffering. Only when I regularly started drinking an appropriate amount of water could I exercise and breathe deeply with no coughing – I had hydrated my lungs! Even chronic asthma responds well to adequate hydration.
Some people notice their joints feel better, others have a major improvement in digestion, and many people notice that their skin looks better as they hydrate and flush out wastes.
Tips and Tricks:
- Start SLOWLY. Fill up a container with your required amount of water at the beginning of the day, and see how much you can comfortably drink.
- Do not chug your water. Instead, sip it throughout the day.
- Add a pinch or two of sea salt to your water for electrolytes. (No table salt!) This will eliminate the excessive need to urinate.
- Minimize water consumption to 8 oz. with meals, as any more will dilute your stomach acid.
- Filtered water is best – even an inexpensive carbon filter (like a Brita) goes a long way towards making your water more healthful.
- 100 ounces is the upper limit of water consumption per day. Do not regularly drink more than this, even if your body weight would indicate it. (Intense exercise or high elevation would be appropriate to go over 100 oz.)
- For every 8 oz. of diuretic beverage you consume (soda, coffee, black tea), add 8 more oz. of water to your calculation. Some people find that the added water helps them cut back on these beverages if they desire to do so.
- You know you’re hydrated when your urine is almost clear. (Note that some supplements, especially B vitamins, can make urine very yellow.)
Calculate your ideal water intake and fill up a container with this amount of water. See how much of this you can comfortably drink in one day. Note your reactions. Reach out to me if you need help troubleshooting.