As herbalists and herbal-minded people, it can be tempting to turn to herbs for our every ailment. But many times, a simple adjustment to diet or sleep is all that is necessary to bring the body back into balance.
Another one of these easy adjustments is water.
How many times have you gone through the day and realized you didn’t drink any water? You may have had a cup of coffee – or two ot three. Perhaps you like to drink soda or energy drinks, which have many side effects – one of which is to cause you to pee even more (diuresis). Either way, you come to the end of your day feeling a bit thirsty (or not).
Did you know that you may not feel thirst, even if you are slightly dehydrated? It’s true! Our bodies can function by removing the water from the food and other drinks we take in, but it’s certainly not optimal, and can cause secondary problems, which are our body’s signal that something is out of balance. Plus, many people have gotten used to the feeling of being dehydrated, so they think it’s normal!
- water transfers waste products out of the body
- nutrients are delivered to the cells via water
- the body is between 70-75% water
- 85% of brain tissue and muscle is water, which is why you can get fuzzy thinking and poor short term memory even with mild dehydration
- mild dehydration can cause metabolism to slow down and energy to decrease
How much water should you drink?
Conventional wisdom says to drink half your bodyweight in ounces each day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds you would divide that by 2, giving you 75 and that’s how many ounces you should aim for. This can be very helpful when calculating your water needs, as long as all other things are equal.
However, if you’re drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages throughout the day, you may find that you are urinating excessively, which can quickly lead to both water and mineral deficiencies. In that case, you could choose to replace most of your caffeinated beverages or soda with flavored water. Adding lemon, berries and herbs such as mint or lemon balm can bring some of those minerals back in and make drinking water more tasty – plus, it just looks pretty!
Another popular method is to simply aim for 8 glasses of water a day equaling 64 ounces. This is a perfectly fine goal as well. Relying on your body’s distinct thirst signals is not always reliable, especially if you often turn to non-water beverages throughout the day. So let’s discuss some of the signals your body might give you to tell you it’s not getting enough water.
- urine is dark yellow or, heaven forbid, brownish like tea (it should be light yellow)
- poop is dry and hard to pass; sometimes formed in small pellets or has a pelleted appearance
- general constipation (fewer than one poop a day)
- lack of energy (this can have multiple reasons, but when combined with several other signs is a good indicator of too little water in the body)
- creaky and/or painful joints
- poor digestion; heartburn
- feeling nauseous in the morning
- dry skin, including mucosal layers (nose, mouth, etc.)
- kidney stones
Drinking more water is one of the easiest things you can do to increase your vitality and health. Remember that you should filter your water or drink reverse osmosis water. The contaminants and “cleaners” they use to treat water are not great for consumption.
You’re worth the extra effort!