The timely debate: how much water a day is enough or on the other end of the spectrum, too much? Should you supplement your water with minerals, salts, or electrolytes? We’re here to discuss all things hydration: how to enhance your hydration, keep a consistent water drinking routine, and how to tap into and maximize your daily water needs.

Why is drinking water SO important?

We are all aware of water’s necessity. It keeps our minds energized and focused, our joints lubricated, our digestive systems flowing, and our skin supple and healthy. As women, water keeps our hormones healthily balanced, our menstrual cycles regular, and our urinary tracts flushed of excess waste and harmful bacteria. In addition to the aesthetic factors, water is a crucial component of every cell in our bodies: more of your body is constituted of water than of organic matter. It’s no wonder we’re all obsessed with keeping our Stanleys and Hydro Flasks on hand!

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Tap water? Filtered water? 

If you’re scrolling through Insta or your #fyp, you’re bound to see an influencer touting their newest hydration method. It’s true that you need to drink water everyday; to what extent is contingent upon a lot of different factors, like sex, activity level, your metabolic rate, etc. Because women use and deposit energy differently than men, women typically need less water throughout the day. Instead, we might need higher levels of potassium, sugar, or sodium in order to keep our hydration equilibrium in check. Tap water usually contains these necessary minerals; with these minerals, though, comes the risk of ingesting the potentially dangerous additives in tap water. Drinking filtered water and adding minerals to remineralize it + ensure you're getting proper hydration is an option you could definitely consider as well. Himalayan pink salt and celtic salt are inexpensive options for mineral reintroduction.

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Dehydration & over-hydration myths

  1. MYTH: You should be drinking a gallon of water a day.

→FACT: There are certain criteria that factor into how much water you need a day. Like we’d mentioned--your biological sex plays a role. Your activity level, the climate in the place you live, and your diet also are significant players in your suggested daily water intake. Ultimately, your body wants hydration equilibrium, meaning a relatively even input and output of water. There are online calculators that can give you a rough estimate of the amount of water you should be drinking. Despite individual differences, it’s fair to generalize that a gallon of water a day is excessive. A healthy range is about 60-90 ounces (compared to 128 ounces in a gallon); for an exact number, consult your doctor.

  1. MYTH: Any liquid that isn’t water isn’t hydrating.

→FACT: It’s true that water is the most hydrating and healthy liquid for our bodies. It has no calories, added sugars, or other molecules for the body to digest and process. Although water is the body’s “preference,” almost all other liquids are hydrating, including coffee, milk, juice, and even alcohol. The extent to which they’re hydrating is a obviously different than water, especially when considering caffeinated beverages and alcohol, but they still provide the benefits of hydration. 

  1. MYTH: You should be drinking sports drinks daily to replenish lost electrolytes.

→FACT: Unless you are an extreme athlete, i.e., you’re sweating out more water than you’re taking in, you don’t necessarily need to worry about electrolyte loss. Your body is skilled at maintaining a healthy balance of salts and electrolytes through a highly specialized and evolutionarily selected set of processes. Drinking sports drinks too frequently--which also contained added sugars--can throw off these internal processes. You might end up expelling too many healthy salts and sugars if you’re trying to override your body’s tried-and-true processes. 

  1. MYTH: You can never drink too much water.

→FACT: Although it’s difficult to drink too much water in a day, it’s still possible. This phenomenon is called “water toxicity,” and usually manifests in the same somatic ways that dehydration does: headaches, cognitive impairments, nausea, excessive fatigue. One way to discern over-hydration versus dehydration is to a.) perform a mental “audit” of your hydration habits; and b.) track the amount of times you urinate in day (as well as characteristics of the urine--is it clear? Dark yellow?). Because your body is excellent at maintaining healthy water balances, it’s somewhat difficult to induce water toxicity--you would have to drink a large quantity of water in a relatively short amount of time. To avoid this, be mindful of the timing between and quantity of water intake.

Now you know how to calculate your daily water intake, enhance your hydration, and address common water-drinking myths. Happy hydrating!

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