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5 Facts About Hydration

Water is essential for life. Not only does water help our body stay hydrated, it is used to maintain and nourish every part of our body. How much water we drink can influence everything from the way we perform to the way we feel. In fact, drinking your recommended daily fluid intake can help prevent certain health conditions.

In this blog, learn about 5 interesting hydration facts that will help you appreciate the importance of reaching your daily fluid intake and staying properly hydrated.

You Don’t Need to Drink 8 Cups of Water Everyday

It's a common belief that we need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to stay hydrated. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, your hydration needs depend on a variety of factors, such as your:

  • Body weight

  • Activity Level

  • Environment and climate

  • Overall health

Additionally, drinking plain water isn’t the only way you can hydrate your body. You can fulfill your recommended daily water intake from foods and beverages other than water.

Based on research, the average person gets 20% of their daily water intake from the food you eat. Foods such as fruits and vegetables are a great source of water for our body. The other 80% comes from beverages like water, juice, milk, and even caffeinated drinks. However, note that drinking too much caffeine and sweetened beverages can act as a diuretic and dehydrate us.

You Can Drink Too Much Water

We need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. However, did you know that it's possible to drink too much water? In 2007, a woman attended a water drinking contest and died from excessive water consumption.

Drinking too much water, also known as water toxicity, is a condition in which we drink more water than our body can handle. This throws off our body’s delicate electrolyte balance, which can cause symptoms such as disorientation, confusion, and vomiting.

Left untreated, water toxicity can render us unconscious and cause seizures. In extreme cases, drinking too much water can even cause death.

Drinking Water Can Help Digestion and Blood Pressure

Integral to every function of our body, water carries an important role in our health. However, did you know that drinking water at specific times can help our digestive system as well as lowering our blood pressure?

Water is essential for good digestion. If you drink a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal, the extra boost of hydration helps your body break down food. This makes it easier to move your meal through the digestive system and help your body better absorb the nutrients from your meal.

If you suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure, some may recommend that you drink a glass of water before taking a bath. By drinking more water, you increase your body’s blood volume. During the bath, the hot water and increase in blood volume helps your blood vessels dilate.

This lowers your blood pressure, which helps improve circulation and cardiovascular health. Additionally, drinking water before a bath can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Electrolytes Are Essential to Rehydration

When we are thirsty, our first instinct is to drink water. However, drinking water and not replenishing your electrolytes can actually worsen your dehydration.

Electrolytes are minerals that are necessary for proper hydration. They help regulate your body's fluid levels. When you sweat, you lose water as well as electrolytes. When you don't restore your body’s lost electrolytes, it can lead to dehydration.

Drinking fluids that contain electrolytes helps replenish them and prevents dehydration.

In addition to daily fluid intake, electrolytes are also important for other functions in the body. They are important for tasks such as muscle contraction and nerve function. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are getting enough of them through your diet or supplements, especially if you are engaging in strenuous activity or exercise.

Most Americans Are Dehydrated

While we like to think that we are getting enough water, the amount of water we should drink fluctuates for everyone. Research shows that a surprising 75% of American adults experience chronic dehydration.

Chronic dehydration is a condition where you do not have enough fluids in your body to function properly. Overtime, our body loses water through sweating and breathing. By not replenishing your body’s fluid loss, we risk the loss of electrolytes and become dehydrated.

Chronic dehydration is often caused by not drinking enough fluids, or by losing too much fluid through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. Treatment for chronic dehydration involves replenishing the fluids in the body through IV fluids or oral rehydration solutions. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially during hot weather or when exercising are just a few ways to prevent the risk of dehydration. Avoid chronic dehydration before it has a chance to set in.

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