By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
August 16, 2021
I remember playing out in the yard when I was a kid. We would be playing for so long and so hard that, the second we stopped, we would realize just how thirsty we were.
We could have gone inside for Kool-Aid or Tang. Instead, we would all rush to the garden hose and drink straight from it.
That was natural instinct. Our bodies were screaming for hydration and we automatically went to the closest direct source of it.
These days, unless we’re working outdoors or exercising, we don’t really get that feeling. On the other hand, if you wait until you’re really thirsty before sipping on something, you’re already dehydrated.
I try to explain to people that your cells need water because DNA and cell division and respiration and all the functions of every one of the trillions and trillions of cells you have, have to occur in a liquid environment. If your cells are slightly dehydrated then all of those functions either slow down or stop. In the end, we’re basically just meat bags filled with water.
Water gets rid of waste in your kidneys and keeps your poop moving. It lubricates your joints. It helps to improve exercise performance. Water keeps your blood from getting too thick. And it’s the only way you’re going to produce saliva, which provides enzymes that are crucial to digestion. Your digestive system depends upon it.
But when you dry out things get bad. You develop digestive problems. Constipation, an overly acidic stomach and heartburn are just a few. Your blood gets thicker. Your chances of blood clots go up. You end up with more instances of kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Plus, your body can’t use the minerals from the food you eat without water, because they won’t dissolve without it. This makes it impossible for them to reach all of the parts of the body that need them.
The Amazing Power of Water
Even when you’re dehydrated to the point of bone-dry thirst, there are so many choices that are tastier than water. Soda, sweetened juices, beer… even Tang and Kool-Aid.
Sure, they offer some hydration. But you have to consider all of the crap found in these other beverages. Things like sugar, corn syrup, sodium, artificial sweeteners and flavorings that will send you down to the path of bad health and early death.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the great things water can do for you.
Reduces your caloric intake. Well, it’s a zero-calorie beverage. And it comes that way, naturally. So if you replace your sugary drinks with it, it’s going to help keep your weight down. Plus, if you drink water throughout the day, it keeps you feeling satiated. It tells your brain that you’ve got something in your stomach, which can help lower your food intake.
Helps beat migraines. If you’re not getting enough fluids in your diet, it could trigger a migraine. In fact, headaches are one of the first signs of dehydration.
But when you increase your daily water intake migraines become less frequent. And if you do get one, it’s less severe and doesn’t last as long. So if you ever feel a migraine coming on, make sure to increase your water intake.
Keeps your mind sharp. The amount of water you drink can have a direct effect on your brain function. Even mild dehydration can decrease cognitive function, affect your concentration and reduce level of alertness. It can also alter your short-term memory, which is necessary to learn new things.
Thankfully, these effects aren’t permanent. Once you rehydrate, your cognitive performance should return to normal.
Protects your kidney function. This is important. Your kidneys are critical when it comes to removing toxic waste from your body in the form of urine. But if you’re dehydrated, your kidneys can’t do their job. Dehydration also contributes to kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Any one of these things can lead to kidney damage.
But if you increase your liquid intake, especially with water, you could actually prevent chronic kidney disease.
Boosts your energy. Did you know that drinking water during the day can help ward off fatigue? Dehydration is a known cause of low energy. Without enough water, your body can’t carry nutrients to the cells. Nor can it take away waste products. So of course you’ll feel sluggish. This gives you another reason to drink more water.
How do you know if you’re hydrated enough?
There are two ways to test your hydration levels.
First, test your skin’s elasticity. Place your hand flat on a table and pull up the skin on the back of it. The skin should immediately return to its normal state. If it takes a while to go back down, you need to drink more water.
Second, check your urine. if it’s lightly colored or clear, you’re drinking enough. If it is yellow – and you aren’t taking a vitamin B supplement (which produces yellow or orangish urine) – you need to drink more.
Now, your urine might be darker and a little cloudy when you first wake up. But after your first morning pee, that should clear up. And you’re going to want to start getting those fluids back into you to replenish what you just peed out and what you lost overnight from breathing.
So once you get moving each day, have some water. It can be plain or with lemon juice. It can be cold, warm or room temperature. Just get your daily hydration started early, and keep it going all day long.
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Khorsha F, Mirzababaei A, Togha M, Mirzaei T. Association of drinking water and migraine headache severity. J Clin Neurosci. 2020;77:81-84.
Roncal-Jimenez C, Lanaspa MA, Jensen T, Sanchez-Lozada LG, Johnson RJ. Mechanisms by Which Dehydration May Lead to Chronic Kidney Disease. Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;66 Suppl 3:10-3.