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How To Actually Hydrate

June 23, 2017

How To Actually Hydrate

Hydration: The process of causing something to absorb water.

"Drink 8 glasses of water every day."

"Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day." 

We've all heard these recommendations given to us when told how to keep ourselves hydrated. But what if I told you that this recommendation doesn't actually add up to hydration?

We are constantly coming into contact with environmental stressors such as UV rays from the sun, toxins in food, water, and air. These stressors compounded by the fact that our body's internal collagen production gradually declines as we age, tend to lead many of us towards a state of mild to moderate dehydration.

Staying hydrated means that your body is properly absorbing water. Having proper water absorption in the body is vital for:

  • Preventing toxins from accumulating in the body. 
  • Allowing your body to repair and rebuild properly
  • Maintaining healthy hair, skin, nails, spinal cord health.
  • Overall function of the body.

For any of you who exercise, have you noticed how much harder it is to do your exercise regimen when you are dehydrated? The most obvious example is exercising the day after you've had a few alcoholic beverages. Just the simple act of staying hydrated can make exercise easier and more fun. Interesting, right?

When you think of hydration, you should think not in quantity of water consumed but rather in terms of what helps water go into cells. You can have water outside of cells, but proper hydration includes the body's ability to get the water into the cells. If that isn't accomplished, you can drink all the water you want, but most of it will just go right through you. It won't actually be absorbed by the body, and you won't be properly hydrated. 

So what do we do? How do we hydrate? What if I told you that drinking water isn't necessarily hydrating? ...What?! I'm crazy right?...read on...

If you drank water that simply came from the earth, that might be quite hydrating. But this day and age, water is so contaminated that it has to be cleaned and processed in order to be drinkable. In this process of putting chlorine and other cleansing chemicals in the water, as well as filtering it, it gets stripped of the most vital component for proper hydration: minerals. 

Minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium (otherwise known as electrolytes) are naturally occurring in the earth. That's why water that comes from the earth and has not been super processed actually has the contents necessary to push water into the cells and properly hydrate the body. 

But most of the water in the stores, tap water, etc. do not actually hydrate us properly. We just have to pee more often when we drink a lot of it. This "empty water" has been stripped of minerals and actually does something opposite to the desired effect. It strips minerals from the body.

Another item that depletes our body of mineral supply is sugar. So those famous sports drinks marketed as "hydrating" and "electrolytes" may help you in the very short term 30 minutes, but in the long term, they are actually depleting your body of resources. I wouldn't recommend attempting to hydrate with drinks that have cane sugar, corn syrup, or any other processed sugar. Just get some of the cleaner recommended options outlined below.

Keeping this simple principle in mind of making water go into the cells rather than just "drink more water", the next question is: "Ok, so what do I drink  or take to keep myself hydrated?" 

Before I mention exactly which items are hydrating, let me give you a short list of some items which are not desirable and are actually stripping your body of mineral supply:

  • Sugary beverages such as sodas and sports drinks
  • Reverse osmosis water (yeah, I know. Many people think this is clean healthy water but in fact it has been stripped of minerals)
  • Sugar consumption in general

Okay. So now, what should you drink or consume to keep hydrated? I gave you a huge clue in telling you that minerals are key. The following are things you drink or take that will keep you properly hydrated:

  • Coconut water (naturally contains minerals)
  • Kombucha
  • Mountain Valley Spring Water (this water company actually maintains the naturally occurring minerals and is much more hydrating than other waters out there. You can actually taste the difference)
  • Fiji water (it is second to Mountain Valley Spring Water. But if I'm traveling, it is easier to find this water than Mountain Valley).
  • Bone Soup. Cooking down bones and making a soup will get you lots of minerals and gelatin which gives your body the proper substance for good hydration.
  • Collagen Supplement: This is good for people who don't have a lot of time to cook bones and make soup every week. Collagen helps maintain the entire body hydrated. It feeds the matrix of the body to repair itself and the amino acids in collagen help absorb water properly.

 

Be Well, 

Mariela Villaverde, L.Ac.,ACN (Co-Owner)

The Functional Co.