Well, the average adult human is roughly 60% water and every cell and system in our bodies require water to function properly. According to the survival experts’ “Rule of 3s” we can survive about 3 weeks without food, but only 3 days without water.
Severe dehydration can lead to serious medical problems such as kidney failure. Chronic dehydration can be a complicating factor in diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Even temporary, mild dehydration can cause negative health effects such as constipation, headaches, decreased energy and mental acuity, food cravings and bloating, dry skin, dry nose and throat, and bad breath.
So how much is enough to stay healthy?
An average healthy adult in a moderate climate excretes 2-3 liters of fluid per day through normal respiration, perspiration and urination/defecation. Those values increase if you are exercising, live in a hot/arid climate, if you are a breastfeeding woman or if you are sick with fever and/or diarrhea. If you do the math, it seems like drinking 64oz. (1.9liters) of water would not be enough to meet our daily hydration requirements. But we also get fluid from the food we eat, mainly through fruits & veggies which help bring our fluid intake levels up. Generally speaking, if you are healthy, the 8x8 ounce rule is a good guide for hydration, remembering to supplement with fruits and vegetables, and to adjust your intake for activity level and climate.
While everyone is different, some common signs of dehydration include:
- Dry skin-can you scratch your initials on your arm with your fingernail?
- Chapped lips-are you constantly looking for your lip balm?
- Dry nasal passages-feel like you have rocks in your nose?
- Dry throat-got that nagging tickle and dry cough?
- Urine color-clear to pale yellow is good, the color of bright lemonade or apple juice is not.
- Headaches-are they more frequent or accompanied by visual disturbance?
- Bad breath-saliva helps kill bacteria that cause bad breath; dry mouth=more bacteria
And here are a few tips to stay properly hydrated:
- Drink when you are thirsty.
- Drink before, during, and after exercise.
- Carry a water bottle with you and keep a glass at your desk. Refill it periodically.
- If you don’t enjoy water, flavor it with a splash of juice, a slice of orange, cucumber or berries.
- Don’t like water in winter, drink herbal tea or warm lemon water (try to avoid excess caffeine).
Posted by: Meaghan Maillet, CMT Connective Touch Therapeutic Massage