We shared this graphic above on our Instagram a while back, and I wanted to share it with you today, in case you didn’t see it. It has been very hot in many places and is finally just starting to cool down here, but this information is great for any time of the year. Find out how to hydrate effectively!
We are often told that we need to drink more water, aiming for at least 64 ounces a day. 8 cups of water can seem daunting. Sometimes we neglect drinking enough water until the end of the day when our thirst signals start screaming out. Then we end up chugging water down at night, which isn’t the best time of day.
So, how should you hydrate effectively? Is there a right way and a wrong way?
Chugging water is not ideal. It certainly makes sense to your body when you are really thirsty, and that is okay, but ideally you would sip water throughout the day. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean you set a timer, no need to be so regimented, but you should have smaller amounts throughout the day to keep your body well hydrated. We lose water through sweat, going to the bathroom, but also simply breathing and producing saliva and digestive juices, so you want to keep your body’s stores up to par.
Like anything, your body can only handle so much water and the biggest issue with chugging water is often that then you have to go to the bathroom. More on this later.
Total Ounces in A Day
I think aiming for 64 ounces in a day is a good marker to shoot for. Sip throughout the day and drink based on your thirst and activity level. Those who are more active will need more water, those less active will need less.
What I wouldn’t recommend is aiming for too much water, like a gallon a day, if it isn’t right for you (your activity level or overall body size may not need that much). I know a popular fitness program has you drink a gallon of water every day. The problem with that is that may be more water than some can handle, and it may be depleting your body of electrolytes if you aren’t focusing on them.
Just as we carefully research what food we put into our mouths, we should also be vetting our water. Tap water just isn’t enough. The pipes it is flowing through may be corroded or lead pipes. All kinds of things are thrown into the water ways that we wouldn’t want to consume. Tap water may contain bacteria, chlorine, fluoride, traces of medicines, heavy metals and more. Do your research and make sure you find a good quality filter that filters out bacteria, heavy metals, chloride and fluoride.
Electrolytes – Helping you to maintain your water!
Our body wouldn’t run without electrolytes. They create electricity, and we are electrical beings. It is what keeps our hearts beating, our muscles contracting, allows our nerve synapses to make connections and fire so that we can think, move, and do things. Electrolytes are critical to how we feel on a day to day basis and are integral to healthy functioning. The problem is, most people don’t think much about electrolytes and don’t prioritize them.
If you are drinking reverse osmosis water or distilled water, you need to be putting electrolytes back in your water. They have been stripped out and now the water lacks some of the life giving properties it usually contains.
While we do get electrolytes from our foods as well (sodium from celery and okra, potassium from fruits and veggies, sodium and chloride from salt), our bodies see water devoid of any minerals as an unnatural occurrence, as it doesn’t occur in nature. I totally understand the reason why people want to strip their water of everything and set it back to zero, so that they know there are no contaminants, but you have to make sure you add those electrolytes back in or you will be depleting your body of them. When you drink distilled water, your body actually takes minerals away from itself in order to balance out the mineral-devoid water, which depletes electrolytes.
The other important thing about electrolytes are they help our bodies to hold onto water and stay hydrated. When we are chugging water devoid of enough electrolytes, we often find ourselves having to run to the bathroom frequently. This is not only annoying, but means that we are defeating the purpose of drinking the water if we can’t hold on to it! In other words, by consuming too much plain water, you can actually be depleting your body of water and electrolytes (aka hydration)!
So, what can you do for electrolytes?
- You can add a pinch of salt to your water
- Drink salted meat stock / bone broth
- Coconut water
- Lemon water with a pinch of salt
- 1-2 tsp raw Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water
- Consume a high quality electrolyte ⬇️