Water…it’s essential for life. Did you know that your body contains up to 75% water by weight and your brain even more? Among its many functions, water feeds cells, helps physical and mental performance, controls temperature, and aids digestion. Sure coffee and hot chocolate taste good, especially on a cold winter day. But when it comes to hydration, water is the only liquid your body really needs.
How much liquid is enough, and what counts? Opinions vary on amount. I encourage clients to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of pure water, herbal tea and mineral broth each day. Depending on climate, activity level and constitution, the target will get bumped to half one’s body weight, or more, in ounces of fluid. That means a person weighing 150 lbs would strive to drink 75 ounces of water per day (150 lbs / 2 = 75 oz).
Research indicates that a sedentary person loses about 3/4 of a liter of fluid each day through normal body functions alone (urination, defecation, respiration, transpiration). That’s close to 40% of the minimal recommended intake of fluid each day. My informal analysis as a result of working with clients indicates we lose closer to 60% through normal functioning. Include fluid lost through exercise, increased temperatures, dry climates and illness, and the number goes higher. Our humanness means we are inconsistent. Therefore, targeting more than the minimum fluid intake (64 fl oz) helps you stay ahead of the curve and account for the variations in your life.
Pure water, fresh juices, herbal teas and mineral broth are the most supportive choices because they provide valuable nutrients to your cells, tissues, organs and muscles. Drinks high in sugar, artificial sweeteners and caffeine can act as diuretics (pulling fluid out) and rob your body of nutrients.
What happens when you get behind on hydration? It can impact allergies, depression, inflammation, headaches, blood pressure, conditions like colitis, and weight. The next time you reach for a snack, consider your hydration level. About 40% of the time, thirst is mistaken for hunger. So ask yourself…are you really hungry or are you thirsty? Dehydration also puts added stress on the body by causing the hormone cortisol to spike. When cortisol levels are elevated, the risk of inflammation, high blood pressure, depleted adrenal function and weight gain can increase.
Here are my favorite beverages to keep your body hydrated and nourished this winter.
Fresh lemon in hot water. Squeeze half a lemon into a mug of hot water. Sip first thing in the morning to aid digestion and support liver function. Once absorbed, lemon is alkalinizing and detoxifying. It is high in vitamin C and a good source of B6, folate and vitamin K.
My favorite herbal teas this time of year are mint, ginger and nettles. Mint is used to relax muscles and open blood vessels. It also has antimicrobial properties. Ginger has a long history of culinary and therapeutic uses. It aids digestion, is anti-inflammatory, and can relieve an upset stomach. Nettles, best mixed with marshmallow root, help lower inflammation and are used to alleviate joint pain and eczema. They are high in iron as well as a good source of vitamins C and K.
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants. Best known is its abundant catechin EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG supports heart and vascular health, promotes weight loss, and helps lower cholesterol and the risk of stroke.
This week, stay mindful of of your hydration. If you are not drinking the minimum 64 fluid ounces each day, I encourage you to increase your intake. Your cells, your brain and your body will thank you.
Here’s to your health and vitality!
I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. Having passed the HNCB exam, I am a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate). To learn more, contact me at 303-594-4401 or by email.