What if you could take one substance that helped improve your mood, cognition, reduce blood pressure, help your blood sugar, reduce body weight and even curb overeating? The good news is that there is such a substance and it’s readily available: Yes, it is water!
Proper hydration is much more than simply drinking when you are thirsty. Maintaining proper hydration, called euhydration, can be complex because a person’s hydration needs can change throughout the day. Things like body weight, metabolic rate, sweat rate and total body surface area all influence how much fluid we need to take in. Dehydration is defined as a 4% or greater loss in body water but as little as a 2% loss of water can result in a noticeable loss of mental and physical function.
The good news is that there are ways you can monitor your hydration levels without lab work. The first is to think about how thirsty you are on a scale of 1 to 9 with 1 being not thirsty at all and 9 being the thirstiest you’ve ever been. If you feel very thirsty chances are you are already 2% dehydrated.
Most day to day fluctuations in weight are due to water intake or water loss. So, consider weighing yourself first thing in the morning after you’ve urinated for three days in a row. The average of these three weights is a good baseline to compare yourself to after you’ve been physically active or have consumed a lot of water. The exception to monitoring your weight would be if you are actively trying to lose weight.
Lastly, monitor the color of your urine. A pale-yellow color indicates good hydration, a more sunflower yellow indicates euhydration. Anything darker indicates dehydration. Keep in mind though a lot of supplements and other things in the diet can change the color of urine.
The amount of water we need to take in can vary but acceptable amounts of intake for males are 3.7 Liters per day and 2.7 Liters per day for women. Keep in mind, a diet rich in fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables, is going to supply about 0.5 Liters to 0.7 Liters per day. As a rule, it is a good idea to consume your water regularly throughout the day, no more than 600 milliliters at a time. That’s because the greater the volume of fluid put into the stomach causes the stomach to empty to rapidly.
In conclusion, consume regular plain water regularly throughout the day, eat a diet plentiful in fresh foods and follow the steps to self-check your hydration status to maintain proper levels of hydration.
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