It can be easy to miss the simplest of things.
Often, when feeling unwell, we go on a search for complex underlying causes.When we want to optimize health, we turn to fancy supplements, powders and diets.Don’t get me wrong - our bodies are complex and there is often a lot going on behind the scenes.But we want to make sure that while digging in the complexity, we don’t lose sight of the simple, basic solutions that serve as foundational pieces to health.
Hydration is a perfect example.
My practice focuses on women’s health and hormone balance.I frequently see women experiencing concerns such as:
- Foggy thinking
- Dry skin
- Period cramps
- Hot flashes
Many of these symptoms are classic signs of hormonal imbalance.Thyroid hormones, blood sugar regulation, estrogen, and progesterone could be significant contributors.When I work with women, I include a work up of all these hormones (and more) to make sure we get that full picture.
Interestingly, every symptom on this list can also be due to dehydration.Our bodies are more than half water.Our cells, including those in our brains, skin, and muscles, are filled with water.They are also bathed in fluid that helps us move and function properly.Without adequate fluid, we can experience pain, fatigue, and fogginess.It’s all because our biochemistry just can’t happen properly without adequate water.
How much water should you drink?
Everyone is different.And the answer varies depending on the day.As a general rule, you can use this calculation:
Take your body weight in pounds.
Divide it in half.That’s the number of oz you should drink.
Take that number of oz and divide by 8.
That’s how many cups you’ll want to consume on an average day.
If you’re exercising, sweating or spending time in the sun, you’ll want to drink more!
Need to increase your fluid intake?Here are some simple strategies that might help.
- Make a habit of drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning (Yup - that means even before having a cup of coffee). You can also attach water-drinking to other habits like brushing your teeth, driving to work, or having a lunch break.Once it becomes a habit, it’s much easier to be consistent
- Add flavour.Try lemon slices, cucumber, or apple cider vinegar to add interest and provide increased health benefits.
- Drink herbal teas.Chamomile, nettles, raspberry leaf, peppermint and hibiscus teas are delicious warm or chilled.And in my opinion, herbal teas count towards your water intake.
- Drink most of your water earlier in the day, so that you won’t be annoyed by waking up to use the bathroom in the night.
- Purchase a water bottle that you love.I promise - it will help you drink more water and is a great way to keep an eye on your overall water intake.
Dr. Rachel VandenBerg, ND is a naturopathic doctor who helps women in midlife achieve optimal health through hormone harmony.She runs a private practice open to women in Ontario, and runs group programs available to women globally.To book a free information session, click here.