Hydration and Dehydration Tips and Tools

How to Keep Hydrated and Avoid Dehydration

At first glance, water doesn’t seem to contribute much to your health. After all, it has no vitamins. No fiber. No protein. No carbohydrates. The truth is, water is vital to your well-being.

75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated. Even mild dehydration slows metabolism, causes fatigue, reduces short-term memory, and increases existing health challenges.

In a moment we’ll look at the best drink for hydration, but first, have a closer look at how dangerous dehydration can be to your body.

What are Dehydration Symptoms?

 

Dehydration: 
Possible symptoms:  

 

 

1%
increase body temperature

 

 

2-4%
typical loss during intense physical activity

 

 

3%
impaired performance

 

 

5%
heat cramps, chills, nausea, clammy skin, rapid pulse, 20-30% decrease in endurance capacity

 

 

6-10%
gastrointestinal problems, heat exhaustion, dizziness, headache, dry mouth and fatigue

 

 

>8%
severe, potentially fatal level, may lose sense of thirst

 

 

>10%
heat stroke, hallucinations, lack of sweat and urine, swollen tongue, high body temperature and an unsteady walk

 

 

Proper Hydration

A recent University of Washington study revealed drinking five glasses of water a day decreases the risk of breast cancer 79%, the risk of bladder cancer 50%, and the risk of colon cancer by 35%.

Importance & Function of Hydration

One of the easiest ways to help the body function optimally and remain disease-free is to keep it well hydrated. In drinking sufficient water throughout each day, we assist our body’s ability to flush toxins and metabolic waste. Most healthy adults need not worry about over-hydration.

How Dehydration Happens

Dehydrated cells are inefficient cells: when the cell is dehydrated, its membrane becomes convoluted and the distance across the membrane increases. Substances that must traverse the membrane of a dehydrated cell are met with greater resistance. Oxygen and nutrients will not enter as readily; metabolic waste cannot leave as easily. When the cell is not functioning optimally, how can the body?

It’s especially important for chronically ill persons, smokers, people who often eat instant food, and those exposed to contaminants in cities, to drink a greater volume of water in order to preserve their health.

Health Benefits of Proper Hydration

Research has shown that proper hydration may minimize chronic pains such as rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, and colitis, as well as lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Many health practitioners advise that if we simply drank enough water to keep our bodies sufficiently hydrated, many of the chronic diseases we find today would be seriously abated.

Research has also shown chronic dehydration to be the root cause of many diseases associated with aging (e.g. arthritis, G.I. disorders, senile dementia). To complicate the situation, our “thirst signals” decline as we become accustomed to being dehydrated and as we age. Dehydration in the elderly can become a real problem.

How Dehydration Happens

Every breath we exhale is always 100% humid. It does not matter what the relative humidity is that day; generally, in air-conditioned buildings, the air is about 10% humid. The difference comes from our water reserves. Perspiration is not always noticed in dry climates because it is wicked away before it can bead on your skin. Even though you may not see it, be assured that you are certainly losing fluid reserves through sweating (as well as through urine and breath).

How do I tell if I am sufficiently hydrated?

“The best way to determine if you’re getting enough water every day is to listen to your body,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling of Harvard Medical School. “Are you excessively thirsty? Are you urinating less frequently than normal? Are you feeling unwell? Are you dizzy when you stand up? Is your mouth dry? While there are reasons other than dehydration that can cause these symptoms, if you can answer NO to all these questions, then you’re probably getting enough water.”

Unfortunately, many people are not aware of their own thirst!

It is estimated that in 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak it is often mistaken for hunger. (In one Univ. of Washington study, it was found that one glass of water deters hunger pangs for 98% of the dieters observed in the study.)

One of the easiest ways to tell is, “The 3 Cs” — You will know you are sufficiently hydrated when your urine is Clear, Colorless, and Copious!

Hydration Calculator

For a simple daily hydration calculator, you can use the standard hydration calculator formula which is:

(Body weight in pounds) divided by 2 = Number of ounces of water to drink in a day

eg:  140 pound person / 2 = 70 ounces of water or almost 9 glasses (8 ounces/glass)

This number is usually a lot more than most people drink! And it does take some determination and conscious drinking to start a habit of drinking enough water and being properly hydrated.

The above is a simple formula, this site has a more advanced hydration calculator that takes into consideration gender, height, weight and age as well as fitness/activity level.

How to Maintain Hydration

There are many ways to maintain hydration. These range from very effective to someone dubious that rely more on brilliant marketing than actual quality.

Water For Hydration

Drink pure alkaline ionized water whenever you can; thirsty or not, drink a lot and drink often. It’s a superior hydration system and increases one’s appetite for water. One recommendation is to drink, in ounces, half your body weight measured in pounds.

Don’t count on coffee or sodas to achieve a daily hydration goal. Because of the caffeine in coffee and most sodas, you need to consume at least the same amount of water just to break even. Sugar content in sodas exerts great osmotic pressure; water is lost from the blood to make the soda dilute enough to leave the stomach.

Do Hydration Drinks Work?

First, let’s look at the question of whether or not we really need sports drinks for rehydration?

It’s common these days to see young kids sporting events where the little ones are all chugging down blue and red sports drinks. This is more a function of successful marketing than actual bodily needs.

The idea of sports hydration drinks is based on the needs of elite level athletes who burn through massive amounts of liquid, blood sugar and electrolytes during their intense and long-duration training sessions.

For the casual gym goer or weekend warrior, there’s likely enough nutrients in their food to make up for anything that would be lost during athletics. The vast majority will be perfectly okay drinking only healthy water during and after workouts – especially if the alternative is unhealthy sports drinks.

Commercial sports drinks almost always contain, harmful preservatives, simple (harmful) sugars, and artificial colors. None of these are needed to stay hydrated and all of them are proven to be harmful to your health.

Hydration Drink Recipe

If you want to be sure that you’re not depleted and you also want to avoid all the bad ingredients of commercial sports drinks, it’s likely that the best drink for hydration is one you make yourself.

The most popular healthy alternative sports drink is coconut water. Apparently, it has the same molecular structure to fluids used in IV rehydration in remote areas where medical supplies are limited.

“coconut water has an ideal composition ratio of sugar, sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes it is the perfect replenishing drink and in extreme situations could be substituted for intravenous hydration fluid.”

If you’d like to try making your own natural sports, rehydration drink, you can do so quite easily according to Wellness Mama.

The base is any healthy liquid (avoid anything with added sugar) such as:

  • Herbal teas
  • Green tea
  • Coconut Water
  • Plain water

To turn the basic liquid into a sports drink, add some or all of these ingredients:

  • Salt– A high-quality salt adds sodium and other minerals
  • Calcium or Magnesium– Adding a high-quality calcium magnesium powder or for extra oomph, try magnesium H2 tablets. They help replenish minerals.
  • Juice– Optional but adds sweetness and natural sugars if needed during exercise. Lemon or lime are great as well.
  • Natural Flavors– Natural flavors like fresh ginger or fresh herbs like mint.

There you have it, save $4 a bottle, and have a much healthier rehydration and sports drink.

Breakthrough Technology – Hydrogen-Rich Water

Since we are, here at Best Water, a technology company. We like to bring the latest in research and technology in the water industry to our customers.

What we’re most excited about right now is H2 Ionized water. It is like the scientists have finally identified the essence of what made alkaline water so effective for wellness and started emphasizing that effect in their water filters and supplements.

You can find more, including the tremendous hydration benefits of this oxygen-rich water on our H2 water technology page.

 

A Few More Hydration Tips

 

Have a water bottle handy at all times! Keep one on your desk at work and in your car.
 

 

Don’t depend on fruit juice – its high sugar content can dehydrate you just like soda! Mixing equal parts juice and pure water will do the job better.
 

 

Consume the watery fruits and vegetables: watermelon, kiwi fruit, tomato, orange, carrots, apples, etc. These can significantly improve your hydration status.
 

 

Are you at risk?

hydrating benefits of alkaline waterAfter a single exercise session (or a night’s sleep, for that matter) any reduction in body weight is attributable to water loss: 2 cups of water = one pound. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes to an hour before exercising; drink another glass or more after you’re finished.

 

 

Maintaining proper hydration is especially important for:

The Active: people who exercise strenuously, particularly in hot or humid weather. This includes athletes, powerlifters, dancers, firemen, etc.
 

 

Desert-dwellers, or those who live in hot, humid climates
The elderly: as we age, the body’s ability to conserve water is reduced, and one’s sense of thirst may diminish. (see below)
 

 

Anyone who is sick with fever, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting should increase fluid intake. This is especially important for children and the elderly.
 

 

People who take diuretics (“water pills”) such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide must monitor themselves closely for signs of dehydration.
 

 

Those living in houses with forced-air heating during the winter
 

 

Singers, teachers public speakers and other professional voice users.
 

 

Michael ‘Rocky’ Katsidis, Champion Boxer

The alkaline ionized mineral water…has proved to be a wonderful partner in helping me move through the various stages to achieve a world championship. The ability of alkaline water to quickly hydrate my body cells, provide dissolved oxygen, act as an antioxidant, and help metabolize lactic acid buildup, is helping me achieve my goal of becoming a world champion”

 

Marj Chipperfield, World Champion

Marj Chipperfield world championAt 82 Marj Chipperfield is a world champion. At this year’s World Masters Swimming championships in Canada, Marj won two gold (400m individual medley and one-kilometer lake swim), two silver (200m backstroke and 100m freestyle) and one bronze (200m freestyle)
. “I have been drinking alkaline ionized mineral water… for the past two years. I simply love the refreshing taste; all the other benefits of increased oxygen content, antioxidant abilities, rapid absorption, and its higher pH to neutralize excess acidity are all extra-added bonuses. Thank you,your water is a blessing for the young and old alike.”

Hydration and the Elderly

“Older people are more likely than others to become dehydrated because their brain underestimates how much water the body needs to remain healthy”, Australian researchers say. Scientists from the Howard Florey Institute found that a part of the brain that predicts how much water a person needs switches off in older people before their body has been adequately replenished.

When a person is thirsty the mid-cingulate cortex increases activity, prompting the body’s thirst response. This switches off when the body’s need for water is satisfied.

Researchers gave salty water to 12 men aged 65 to 74 years, and 10 men aged 21 to 30, to make them thirsty. The men were then allowed to drink as much water as they wanted. Both groups had the same level of thirst but the older group drank less than half as much water before activity in the mid-cingulate cortex was switched off, says the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Michael Farrell, a senior research officer, said decreased brain activity was part of the aging process, and older people could no longer trust thirst sensation. “Adults should drink about 8 glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration, and physically active people may need to drink more,” he said.