Water – an underestimated therapy.
This week alone I had multiple patient visits where we determined that the main cause or contributing factor to their symptoms was dehydration. The symptoms range from fatigue, decreased mental clarity, constipation, decreased metabolism, stiffness, headaches, and more. Sure, all of these symptoms can be caused by or contributed to by other factors we investigate, but if you are not properly hydrated, you can’t expect to feel well. You also can’t expect anything you take in capsule-form (including natural medicine) to be fully effective. We are not made up of ~70% water as you may have heard, we are OPTIMALLY made up of 70% water, and the brain is optimally made up of 90% water. But we are only made up of what we put in. Water transports nutrients, regulates temperature, lubricates joints, provides structure to cells and tissues, elimination of toxins, moisturizes the skin and that’s not even all! Did you know that 1-2% dehydration will decrease cognitive performance (including processing, memory, motivation, attentiveness, and critical thinking) – this includes in children. It will also cause metabolism to start to slow down.
Over the years I have had many patients tell me that they don’t like drinking water because it makes them need to pee a lot. STOP. When did we become SO BUSY that we have de-prioritized basic human bodily functions required to sustain life? You have the right to pee and if you have a lifestyle or occupation that makes you feel otherwise, we have some shifting to do.
My tips for drinking more water:
-choose a large, reusable (no single use plastic!), BPA-free container that you carry with you at all times
– if you commute by car or walk pushing a stroller – consider a container that fits into a cup holder. Choose the best container for YOU
– try a container with a reusable straw! You will drink more/faster with a straw and it also allows you to continue to keep your eyes on your task (computer, driving, etc.) while also drinking
– set specific times for intake such as 1 cup (or more on waking), 1 container/bottle on your way to/from work/school, 1 cup before meals (aim for at least 10 mins before eating). Make a plan for exactly WHEN this water is getting in each day rather than just hoping it will
– add a little flavor with a splash of lemon, fresh mint leaves OR drink herbal tea (caffeine-free)! Most herbal teas are hydrating with the added medicinal benefit of the herbs you use. My favourites in our line of in-house blends include “Peace & Cinnamon Tea”, “Stress Support Tea”, and “Be Calm & Sleep Tea”.
Aim for approximated 1 cup per 20 lbs of body weight but always adding more water intake for anything that would cause you to lose more water such as sweating, caffeine and alcohol, etc.
Try increasing your hydration for just ONE WEEK and see how you feel. You deserve it.