Weight Loss Tips

HYDRATION

By January 8, 2021No Comments

Written By: Craig Warrian

If I asked what the most important nutrient is that we as humans consume, what would be the answer?  Would it be protein?  Perhaps carbohydrates?  Maybe a low-carb eating protocol, we would say that fats are most important.  How many would say water?  Needless to say, plain old water does not get enough publicity unless, of course, it is bottled, infused, coloured and “jacked up” with the latest health craze ingredients.

Plain and simple, water is the most important nutrient we can consume.  Every aspect of our body requires water to function properly.  We can survive weeks without food, but only days or hours without water.  Statistics have revealed that 75% of people are operating in a dehydrated state every single day. Is this something to be alarmed about? The answer is, it depends.  To be living a healthy life and allowing the body to operate optimally then yes, we should be alarmed and take action.

Being hydrated each day is crucial to many aspects of overall health.  Being properly hydrated helps regulate body temperature, provide proper joint lubrication, supports infection prevention and nutrient delivery to cells to name a few.  If our body is well hydrated it will also improve sleep quality, mental cognition and overall mood.

If we are properly hydrated, the mechanisms within our bodies that we use to filter and remove waste will also function with improved efficiency.  Staying hydrated allows our kidneys, liver, skin and colon all process, filter as they should.  Even mild cases of dehydration can throw these systems off balance.  Constipation is something that can occur very easily if we are not taking in and absorbing the appropriate levels of hydrating fluids.  If our body is short on water, the colon will strip moisture from our stool, so that it can function as close to normal as possible.  This is biology kicking in to try and protect the key organs’ functions.  The lesson here is that we need to work with our bodies and provide it what it needs to function properly.

Dehydration occurs when more water is moving out of the body’s cells then what should be shuttled into them.  When our body is relinquishing water, it’s not just water that we are losing.  Along with that precious water, our body is also being stripped of electrolytes that are critical for proper cell function.  Sodium and potassium are some key electrolytes that are lost along with the water.

Thirst might be the most common symptom of dehydration, however, it is not the only signal that we are lacking fluids.  The following list highlights some of the signs that show we are short on the “elixir of life”:

  • Coloured urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Less-frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Hunger

With many people, the signals of hunger and thirst can get mixed. This can lead to additional eating/snacking and a higher probability of weight gain.  When it comes to weight management, hydration can play a key role.  Stay well hydrated and the body won’t send those confusing thirst/hunger signals.  Consume a glass of water prior to a meal to help the body feel a little fuller sooner.  Lastly, stay well hydrated, so our system can clear necessary waste and ease the ability for our body to convert body fat into fuel.

One additional area of focus for hydration is how it impacts the brain.  The brain requires not only the proper nutrients to function well, but also fluids. The signals, circulation and overall function of the brain are reliant upon proper hydration.  Many of the symptoms listed above are related to the performance of our brain including dizziness, confusion and headaches.  As we lose even a small percentage of hydration in our bodies(1-3%), our brains can be negatively impacted.

Many North American adults get in the suggested “8 glasses” of hydrating fluids each day, but unfortunately they are counter balanced with many other foods/beverages loaded with caffeine, sodium and sugar, which puts the balance back into dehydration’s favour.  The good news is that caffeine doesn’t have an incredibly high diuretic impact.  However, if we are not consuming sufficient hydrating fluids, yet consuming plenty of caffeinated fluids, then we will be in danger of dehydration. It is a delicate balance.  In today’s era of “jacked up” beverages, many of us are conditioned to expect high levels of sweetness and flavour in everything we consume because our taste buds have been trained to crave them. Therefore, if the thought of drinking a glass of plain water doesn’t sound appealing … firstly, get over it … and secondly, read on…

Below are 5 recommendations on how to increase hydration and get the system replenished with proper life-giving hydration:

  1. Drink water… and plenty of it. The recommendation is 64 oz (8 cups) of water per day.  Additional research has come out however, recommending even more.  Therefore, make the 8 cups a starting point and try to get in 10-12 cups of water per day.

NOTE: Even more isn’t always better.  Don’t go crazy drinking water as we can over hydrate.  So keep it at or around the recommended levels (Men can increase their water consumption to upwards of 16 cups per day while women should stay in the 12 cups range)

2. If the “flavour” of water is a concern, drop in a slice of cucumber, a slice of lemon or lime, or perhaps a sliced strawberry or add a scoop of EWYN BCAAs.  That little bit of flavour will go a long way.

3. Consume hydrating foods.  Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, oranges (not orange juice), cucumbers and lettuce are all great hydrating food options (all in the 88% – 96% water content range).

4. Keep away from pop/soda, fruit juice and alcoholic beverages.  Keep these types of fluids at an incredibly low (to zero) level.  If on EWYN program, you know the rules., stick to them.

5. Moderate levels of coffee and tea consumption can actually be hydrating and provide some health effects.  However, this only holds true if the consumption is moderate to low levels of both.

PRO TIP: Try a little “water therapy” each morning.  Consume a glass of water every morning immediately upon waking.  Work up to a 1 litre of water first thing every morning to provide your body with a jump-start of hydration.  This will give the body a very beneficial “inner bath” which will help clear toxins and waste. Add a squeeze of lemon to that water for healthy cocktail.  By adding some lemon it will help get digestive juices going.  These digestive juices will improve stomach and digestive function.

In summary, make hydrating a priority.  Not everyone is a water drinker, start slow and build up an “appetite” for it.  Working up to 8 cups a day and then eventually be able to get up to the 12-cup range in no time.  Speak to a EWYN health coach for other hydrating opportunities to include in a daily routine.  Our coaches will provide you with Exactly What You Need!