Hydration. Let’s talk about what it is and what it is not. A study published on January 2, 2023 in the journal BioMedicine found that people who are adequately hydrated have significantly lower risks of developing chronic diseases, a lower risk of dying early, and may have a slower aging process than people who do not drink enough water.
Most of us have known for a while that hydration is linked to clearer and more supple skin and to better bodily functions (such as people who are fully hydrated don’t get as constipated as those whose water intake is suboptimal.) Being hydrated fully also helps your body regulate your temperature.
The press release published by the National Institute of Health said that the current study expanded on research scientists published in March 2022, “which found links between higher ranges of normal serum sodium levels and increased risks for heart failure.”
“On the global level, this can have a big impact,” said Natalia Dmitrieva, Ph.D., a study author and researcher in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the NIH. “Decreased body water content is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, which is why the results suggest that staying well hydrated may slow down the aging process and prevent or delay chronic disease.”
The authors state that over half of the people worldwide do not meet the recommendations for daily total water intake (which starts at 6 cups or 1.5 liters per day).
In addition to hydration lowering the risks of chronic disease and slowing the aging process, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that water helps lubricate and cushion your joints, it protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and it helps rid your body of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
So how much water or water-like fluids does your body need each day? Some websites say half your body weight in ounces daily. Other sources, like the book Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate says, normal hydration from a combination of drinking water, beverages, and eating food, such as fruits and veggies with high water content, for adults between 2.7L and 3.7L per day. (That’s more than 91 fluid ounces or 11 cups and 125 fluid ounces or 15.5 cups each day, for those of you unaccustomed to liters.)
If you are active or live in a hot or dry climate, you may need more water than that to stay fully hydrated. If you find yourself struggling to swallow enough fluids per day, use these tips to increase your hydration.
- Flavor your water. Use limes, lemons, oranges, strawberry, cucumbers, mint or any fruit or herb your like.
- Tie drinking water to a routine. For example, I drink my first eight ounces as I am preparing the coffee in the coffeemaker every morning. (We tend to wake up dehydrated so this starts your body and day off right.)
- Drink your water from a reusable water bottle or your favorite glass to track your consumption. Make it a game to see how many times you can refill it in a day.
- Use a water intake app on your smart phone or tablet to record what you drink each day.
- Take your bottle of water (flavored or plain) with you everywhere you go.
- Consume water-heavy fruits and veggies, such as melons, cucumbers, and celery at meals or as snacks.
- And if you must, add some herbal tea or EmergenC to one of the glasses you drink each day, but make sure you choose something without a bunch of added sugar.
- Set a hydration reminder timer on your phone or watch or computer.
Make 2023 the year of hydration and health. Happy new year!