The importance of proper hydration
How important is hydration to your overall health? Learn the signs of dehydration and how it can affect your body. Is the amount of water you’re drinking day to day enough to keep your brain functioning in its ideal state?
You might be surprised to learn just how important water intake is in keeping your body working the way it's supposed to. Dehydration can actually shrink your brain. When you are starting to feel the effects of mild dehydration, your brain function is already significantly affected.
Hydration is a Balancing Act
A large portion of the human body is comprised of water—H20 makes up about 60% of us. The average amount of water a healthy adult body contains lies between 38-48 liters.
If you’re not replenishing your liquids at the same rate they’re being lost by perspiration and evaporation, and you’re missing a significant portion of your fluids, your body is no longer balanced.
When the balance within your body’s ecosystem is thrown off, you may feel a variety of effects, like:
- Difficulty regulating temperature
- Increased effort to complete simple tasks
- Forgetfulness, confusion, fatigue, or mental sluggishness
- Feelings of anxiety or tenseness
In extreme cases of dehydration, you might:
- Lose the ability to urinate
- Stop sweating completely
The Stages of Dehydration
Mild dehydration is defined by a loss of around 1.5% of your body weight, and this can occur when a person goes without consuming liquids for 4-8 hrs. A loss of 3-4% of body weight would indicate severe dehydration. Depending on one’s activity level, this can take up to 24 hours without fluids to occur.
Studies have shown significant reduction in brain function in people on the very low range of mild dehydration.
Hydration: the Rule of Thumb
The best way to tell if you’re dehydrated is by paying close attention to 3 factors:
- Your feelings of thirst
- The colour of your urine
- Your body weight.
For example, if you are losing more than 1.5% of your body weight after working outside in the heat, and your urine isn’t a light straw colour afterwards, you should strive to consume more fluids throughout that activity next time.
There is no magic number for the amount of water recommended for all people to consume daily.
Drink Healthy Filtered Water
The best water to hydrate with is free of contaminants, including chlorine, lead and viruses. Clean, filtered water not only tastes great-- so you’ll want to drink more--but helps set you up for idyllic health. When you consider that 60% of your body is water, it is critical that the water you are hydrating with does not contain anything that would be harmful to your body.