Everybody needs water to survive. It’s a fact.
But did you know not everyone needs the same amount? Eight glasses a day is not a rule you need to follow. In fact it was never recommended in the first place. You can read about how that came about and why it’s not true here.
Dehydration Is Real
Recently my dad had knee surgery to repair a shattered knee cap. After surgery he was on high dose pain pills for the first few days. If you’ve ever taken pain pills you know what they do to you besides relieving pain. They dry out pretty much everything, causing problems with your kidneys and your bowels.
My dad struggled to drink his normal amount of fluids, let alone extra to compensate. And he ended up back in the hospital with severe dehydration (thankfully he did recover very quickly). Lesson learned. Sometimes you really need to be careful about your water intake.
But unless you’ve just had surgery or are on medication with a lot of yucky side effects you’re probably not in an extreme case like my dad. You might even be at the opposite end of the spectrum where drinking more water will actually make things worse.
So just how much water should you drink? And why?
Here are some common reasons to consider drinking plenty of water.
1. Prevent Dehydration
Water helps you stay hydrated. According to WebMD “Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids.” Our body is made up of around 60 – 70% water. It makes sense that we need water to maintain this level.
This water can come from other sources, such as fresh fruits and vegetables too. However you get it, your body needs water for hydration.
2. Improve Digestion
If you go to any gastroenterologist complaining of constipation he or she will tell you to drink more water and increase fiber. Yes, our bowels need water to move waste through. I have found, however, that the fiber aspect is not necessarily the way to go (this comes from someone who’s gone through every GI test possible and has had major colon surgery).
Mayo Clinic states that “water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Water also softens stool, which helps prevent constipation.” Your body does need a certain amount of water for a healthy digestive system.
3. Get Clear Skin
The appearance of your skin says a lot about your overall health. It is a big organ that needs care just like the rest of you.
UW Health says “skin is an organ, and just like any other part of the body. Your skin is made up of cells. Skin cells, like any other cell in the body, are made up of water. Without water, the organs will certainly not function properly or at their best.
If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling.”
Especially in the dry, winter months your skin needs plenty of hydration.
Please note that not everyone agrees on the theory that more water equals better skin.
4. Save Money
As a steward of my finances I always like to save money when I can. Drinking water instead of other beverages is a great way to do just that!
Whether you are at home, on the go or eating at a restaurant, drinking water is just about the easiest way to save money.
5. Cut Calories
Did you know that on average we consume about 400 calories a day from beverages? That’s almost a whole meal’s worth of calories! Not to mention most of those calories come in the form of sugar (and probably not the natural kind).
Drinking water is a very simple way to cut calories from sweets. Then you can replace them with nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, pastured meats and healthy fats.
Why You Might Not Want to Drink So Much Water
Those are all very valid reasons to keep drinking water. But that doesn’t mean that more is always better. Sometimes you actually need less water.
If you’re worn out, not getting enough sleep, coping with a lot of stress, over-exercising or not fueling your body with enough calories (did I just describe every mom in the world?) you might want to think twice about drinking glass after glass of water.
I explained here why I stopped drinking so much water and how it significantly improved my health. Yes, improved! I have more energy, better digestion, and I’m not freezing all the time anymore. It’s been three years since I set down the water bottle and I’ve never felt better.
Too much water can actually flush crucial minerals from your body. It can also lower your metabolism!
You can read about why I stopped drinking so much water here.
Has all this talk about water made you thirsty? Yes, I too get thirsty. But very rarely does water sound appealing or thirst-quenching to me (to be quite honest I’m not a big fan of plain water and don’t drink it much…stressed out adrenals will do that to you).
I still stay hydrated…just not with plain water. I eat tons of fruits and vegetables every day and make sure my liquids are truly hydrating. Being the real foodie, money saver I am I also believe in carrying my own drinks with me.
Some of my favorites are homemade pink lemonade (like Gatorade but with real ingredients), smoothies (two of our favorites are blueberry spinach and squash cherry) and molasses water (simply add a bit of molasses and sea salt to water for a boost of minerals).
Make It Fun
Exercising is more fun when you have cute, new clothes to wear. Am I right? Well, staying hydrated is more fun with a stylish container!
I love this glass bottle from Lifefactory! It is the perfect size – 12 oz. So many water bottles are so big they are a pain to carry around. Not to mention they hold way more liquid than I need. The wide mouth makes it the perfect bottle for smoothies and juicing.
Glass is a great way to avoid things like BPA and other chemicals. The silicone sleeve makes it safe and easy to carry. Plus the handle works well for clipping the bottle onto your bag!
The bright colors are great too…maybe one more incentive to exercise? Get a water bottle that coordinates with your new clothes.
My kids love this bottle! My toddler (known for confiscating any new container and filling it with random objects) tried to run away with it. All three kids were wondering who got to use it first. I might have to get a few more!
How much water should you drink?
I can’t answer that. It’s different for every person and varies every day. But you can use a fun water bottle to meet whatever your fluid needs!
And remember that key point – your body needs fluids every day. But it does not all have to come in the form of plain water. It comes from your food and other liquids too.