Optimal hydration is crucial to maintaining every organ and system in your body. Insufficient hydration can have an adverse effect on how your body functions. For example, even a 2% drop in optimal hydration can lead to cloudy thinking and fatigue.
Water is an essential component of every cell in your body. For example, the tissue that makes up your lungs is comprised of nearly 90% water. Your blood is more than 80% water. And, your brain is approximately 70% water.
How Optimal Hydration Helps Your Body
Optimal hydration is necessary for every function in your body. For example, you need to be hydrated in order to eliminate toxins from your body through urination, moving your bowels, and sweating. When you are not properly hydrated, your body reabsorbs toxins. This puts a lot of stress on your liver and can even wreak havoc on your immune system over time.
When you are optimally hydrated, it’s easier for your body to maintain a normal body temperature. And, research shows that your metabolism is also dependent on your level of hydration. When you are optimally hydrated, you burn calories at an accelerated rate.
Optimal hydration is important for your body in many other ways, including helping your body produce digestive enzymes, maintaining healthy skin and hair, absorbing essential vitamins and minerals, carrying nutrients to your cells, preventing constipation, and even lubricating your joints.
5 Signs of Dehydration
Your body works to maintain optimal hydration by using hormones to control how much you urinate and by giving your brain signals that you are thirsty. Yet, most people in our hemisphere live in a state of chronic dehydration. Dehydration happens when you lose more fluid than you take in.
Here are five ways you can tell if you are dehydrated:
- Your urine is dark. When you are hydrated, your urine is clear to straw-colored. It becomes progressively darker the more dehydrated you are. So, if your urine is honey-colored to dark-brown that is a sign that you need to hydrate. Remember: certain medications and foods can change the color of your urine.
- You’re constipated. Water is important for digestion and elimination. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation. Of course, there are many other factors that can cause constipation, including the food you eat, travel, and certain conditions and medications. If you are staying hydrated, your stool should be soft and you should not have to strain.
- You have a dry mouth. A dry mouth is one of the first symptoms indicating that you need to hydrate. A sense of thirst may follow. Not being able to produce tears or sweat is another clear sign of dehydration.
- You get frequent headaches. Your brain can actually shrink from dehydration, causing you to get a headache. This is common after exercise when you have been sweating and not replenishing fluids. But, dehydration headaches can occur any time you become dehydrated, and they can be severe. You can tell if a headache is from dehydration because you will experience other signs of dehydration as well.
- You are tired. Dehydration can cause muscle fatigue, sleepiness, and general lethargy. When children are dehydrated, they tend to become less active.
People who are chronically dehydrated may suffer from some or all of these five most common symptoms, as well as other symptoms of chronic dehydration, including: indigestion, muscle and joint aches and pains, high blood pressure, fast heartbeat, depression, lack of mental clarity, skin problems, weight issues, and even allergies.
Severe dehydration can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, and confusion, and it can even lead to chronic kidney disease.
How to Stay Optimally Hydrated
Anyone can be at risk for dehydration. But some people are at greater risk than others. For example, your thirst sensation lessons as you grow older, so older people can be at higher risk of dehydration from simply not reading their bodies’ signals. If you take medications or perspire a lot due to exercise, working outdoors, or living in a hot, humid climate, you may be at greater risk of dehydration as well.
Eat Your Water for Optimal Hydration
You have probably been told that you need drink eight glasses of water per day (eight ounces each) and even more if you exercise. This is partially true, but there is a better way to stay optimally hydrated. Eat your water!
Believe it or not, eating your water is the best way to get hydration to all of your cells. Gerald Pollack, Ph.D., a water scientist and bioengineer at the University of Washington, says that water exists in 4 states—solid, liquid, gas, and gel. His research shows that water in plants is far more hydrating than plain water and more apt to get to the right places in the body, including your cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that bathes your brain), your bloodstream, your gut lining, and your respiratory system.
Gina Bria, co-author of Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration and founder of the Hydration Foundation, also says gel water, or as she calls it, “living water,” is the best way to hydrate because gel water gets into our fascia. Gina has studied desert cultures. These populations have very little available water, yet they are able to stay adequately hydrated from eating plants that contain water in a gel-like state, such as chia seeds and cacti. And she has some great recipes for those of us who don’t live in the desert, such as Gina’s coconut-rose splendor smoothie.
Now, I’m not saying you should stop drinking water. Drinking pure water does help you to meet your hydration needs. Just be sure to get some gel-water from food sources, too.
Here are four more ways to make sure you stay hydrated:
- Improve your water. To ensure you get enough water, add something to your water to make it more hydrating, such as a pinch of Celtic or Himalayan salt, lemons, cucumbers, strawberries, or watermelon.
- Watch your caffeine intake. Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances on the planet. And, caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea, and sodas have a mild diuretic effect, which means they remove water and other nutrients from your body. You may notice that you urinate more when you drink caffeine. So, just be sure to drink or eat more water as well.
- Limit alcohol use. Alcohol reduces how much anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) your body produces. When you have less ADH available, your body loses more fluid than normal through increased urination. Of course, if you imbibe a little as part of a ritual or an occasional celebration, then you are not going to become severely dehydrated. Just don’t overdo it.
- Trust your body. How much water you need varies, depending on many factors, including how much you exercise, whether you drink alcohol or caffeine, how much you travel, and if you take medications. Be sure to trust your body’s signals. If you think you need to drink or eat more water, then you do. As a general rule of thumb, you can always divide your body weight by half, then drink or eat that amount of water in ounces every day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, try to get 75 ounces of water per day, or enough so that your urine is clear. Be sure to hydrate gradually throughout the day.
Remember, fluids other than pure water don’t meet your needs for hydration the way that water does because they don’t act the same as water in your body. Once you begin hydrating your body optimally, you will notice that many symptoms will clear up.
How to Structure Water for Better Hydration and Health
Structured water is created when the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that make up water are rearranged to make it more alkaline, denser, more viscous and able to carry a charge. When water carries a charge, it has the ability to deliver electromagnetic energy directly to your cells’ mitochondria. This helps with energy production.
Studies also show that structured water can decrease inflammation by improving protein folding, thereby increasing cellular communication. Structured water has also been shown to slow the aging process by neutralizing free radicals, acting in the same way as antioxidants.
The good news is, there are many ways you can structure your water at home!
- Use a structured water device. There are a number of structured water devices on the market today. Some are portable and others need to be installed in your plumbing system, either as a whole house system or to one source of water such as your tap water, your garden hose, or your shower. These devices use different techniques to structure water. For example, the Analemma devices contain Mother Water. When you swirl the Analemma Wand through regular water, the water’s molecules mimic the Mother Water’s frequency and coherent structure.
- Swirl your water. The idea of swirling water to create structured water is that the vortex created by the swirling motion mimics how water flows in nature. (Think of a mountain stream or river.) In non-industrialized countries this technique is often by catching rainwater and vortexing it on a larger scale. There are products that can help you create a vortex for water to become restructured. For example, the Mayo Swirl pitcher, which also claims to aerate the water and infuse fresh oxygen into it to deliver reoxygenated, rebalanced, and rejuvenated living water.
- Try Copper. Using copper vessels to store water is a common practice in Ayurvedic medicine, and practitioners believe that copper plays an important role in balancing the doshas. This may be true since adding a copper plate to your water vessel not only removes impurities such as bacteria, fungi and other harmful microbes from the water, but it also restores water to its natural, structured state. To structure water with copper you need copper that is at least 1 mm thick, a clean clay or steel pot, clean water, lemon, and salt. Fill your pot with pure water. Scrub your copper plate with lemon and salt mixture until oxidation marks are gone, rinse, and dry. Place the copper plate in the water, cover with a lid, and let sit for 6-8 hours. Remove the copper plate and enjoy structured water.
- Sunbathe your water. Energy can restructure water. These energy sources can include heat from the sun, Earth, a radiation device, or even a muscle heating pad! One of the easiest ways to structure water is to leave pure water in a closed glass jar in the sun. You can even include herbs in your water to make it a structured sun tea. Other sources of energy that can structure water include infrared light, thunder, lightning, certain crystals and possibly even human touch!
A Word About Water Purification
Most of us live in places where our tap water is “treated” for pollutants. If you have ever had your water tested, you might have heard that you have “hard” water. This is usually due to high levels of chlorine or chloramine added by local water authorities to kill bacteria and parasites. In addition to containing chlorine, most treated water still contains toxins such as pesticides, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors, waste products, and well, you name it! Another way to look at it is that your tap water is your toilet water repurposed.
Many people ask if structuring water removes these impurities or if other types of water, such as distilled water or alkaline water are structured. The answer is maybe—and this is where your own research should come in.
Some structured water devices remove impurities, and others do not. So if you are installing a water structuring device or using a portable one, you need to learn about that particular device. Often you may need to add reverse osmosis to your water system to remove impurities first, and then add a structuring device or process to create structured water.
By the same token, if you use reverse osmosis or another water purification system, your water may be lacking minerals. So, you may also want to add back key minerals such calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium. One mineral I love to add to my purified, structure water is Shungite. Shungite has been used for centuries as a water purifier, disinfectant, and an overall healing mineral. It has a proven unique ability to act as a long-lasting antioxidant that prevents cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. Simply place Shungite stones in a pouch and drop in a glass, ceramic, or enamel container. Fill with cold water and let soak for 8 hours. (24-72 hours is optimal). Just keep adding water as you use it up. Make sure you use Elite Shungite from a reputable source.
In short, to create true living water you may need to filter your water, re-mineralize and then structure it.
Do you structure your water? What are you using and what results are you seeing?