My husband comes home from work, and starts rummaging through the cupboard like a bear storming a campsite.
He doesn't tear into anything, but he's definitely nosing around.
In a few minutes, we'll be leaving for dinner at a nice restaurant — a delicious, decadent meal. A meal worthy of your full appetite.
I suggest a glass of water. Often, dehydration shows up as hunger pangs.
“Uh, okay,” he says, perusing the kid food: crackers, bunnies, Pirate's Booty.
“You might just be thirsty,” I say.
My husband is a busy guy, always running from one meeting to the next. Who knows how much water he's had today. I'm guessing one glass, at lunchtime.
“Water?” He appears incredulous. “Water?! I'm a grown man — I'm pretty sure I know the difference between being hungry and thirsty.”
He's being funny now. And he might actually be hungry as well as thirsty. But he indulges me and has the water anyway. He's a good sport about my health rants.
Here's my point — my husband thinks he drinks enough water.
And you probably think you drink enough water.
And yet, the CDC reports (*source):
- 7% of respondents have no daily consumption of water — none!
- 36% of respondents drink only 1-3 cups per day
- 35% of respondents drink only 4-7 cups — this is better, but still inadequate
- Only 22 % of respondents drink 8+ cups of water per day
In short, the vast majority of us are chronically dehydrated.
Not life-threatening, stuck-in-the-desert-with-one-drop-left-in-the-canteen dehydrated, but dehydrated all the same. The kind of dehydrated that can wear your body down gradually over a long period of time.
So why is it so important to drink water, even relatively radical amounts compared to what we normally drink in any given day?
Easy. Here are five great reasons:
1. Nature's energy drink. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue and poor physical performance. The next time you hit a mid-afternoon slump, try nailing 8-16 ounces of water. Chances are you'll feel revitalized, without the crash from an afternoon cup of coffee or sugary snack.
2. Pain avoidance/relief. Dehydration can cause headaches, and can even trigger migraines. Dehydration and also exacerbate joint pain and arthritis.
3. Mental clarity. Even mild dehydration can result in confusion and issues with concentrating.
4. Anti-bloat. It may seem counterintuitive, but drinking adequate water can help with bloating. Bloating happens when toxins cause inflammation in the body. Drinking water helps flush the toxins out and reduce bloating.
5. Happy digestion. Our digestive system needs plenty of water to take care of business — and being dehydrated can result in constipation and other digestive issues. If you rely on your morning cup of coffee to get things going, try starting out your day with 2-3 glasses of water instead.
Try This at Home
Want to feel what it's like to be properly hydrated?
Try this tip from “superfood hunter” Darin Olien's excellent book, SuperLife: The 5 Forces That Will Make You Fit, Healthy, and Eternally Awesome.
When you wake up in the morning, try drinking a liter of fresh, filtered water.
Yes, that's right. A liter!
Most of us don't realize how dehydrated our bodies are when we wake up. Makes sense, though — we've likely gone 6-8 hours without water.
Try this morning “cocktail” and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how energized you feel.
Darin's book goes into water quality at length (he recommends distilled, with a couple of caveats), but don't worry about all that just yet.
For starters, just try water from your own tap, filtered through a Brita or Soma pitcher.
And check out the book if you get a chance — good stuff!
Want to Learn More?
Proper hydration — through both water and hydrating foods — is a topic we'll be taking a deeper dive into during my new online nutrition and lifestyle program, Camp Kale.
For details, please check out the links below.
In the meantime, you might also enjoy featured recipes from Camp Kale — the Watermelon Brain Freeze, The Cleaner (green smoothie) and my favorite 5-second salad dressing. Enjoy!