The average human body is more than 50% water.
That’s because every cell in our bodies depends on some level of water.
We get lots of water from the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables contain tons of hydrating goodness.
Coffee, tea, soup… heck, even soda contains some water.
But the body doesn’t just require some water. It needs a whole lot of it. And coming up just the slightest bit short can lead to a whole host of problems.
A Host of Problems
Water helps deliver oxygen to the body. If oxygen isn’t properly delivered through the bloodstream, it can result in hypoxemia. This leads to the body not working properly as a whole.
But first and foremost, it results in headaches and shortness of breath.
In more extreme cases, it can result in anemia, which is known to lead to dizziness, rapid heartbeat, weakness and fatigue, and sometimes jaundice.
But these are more long-term effects of dehydration.
Short term, coming up just 1% shy of proper hydration levels can quickly cause a bad mood. Dehydration’s effect on our mood is still being studied, but small-scale studies have shown that even slight levels of dehydration can bring us down.
It can also make it more difficult to concentrate. And again, headaches can pop up from just the slightest shortage of water intake.
So here’s a simple way to make sure you’re getting enough water each day.
A Bad Benchmark
Common wisdom of the internet suggests the eight-by-eight rule should solve these problems… Meaning that eight 8-ounce glasses of water (or 2 liters) a day should be ample.
For some folks, that could work.
But for many others, this could be woefully inadequate.
For instance, sodium, soy and calcium-rich foods actually suck up a lot of water that the body needs to function properly. Same goes for fatty fish, sugary drinks, tea, coffee and even blueberries.
In other words, if any of these things is in your diet, the eight-by-eight rule may not cut it.
Plus, we naturally lose a lot of water throughout the day. Working up a little sweat can lead to dehydration. Every time we use the bathroom, we’re losing water.
Heck, we even lose small amounts of water while we sleep because water leaves our body every time we exhale.
And that could be doing direct damage to the brain…
Our brains are about 75% water. And when the brain’s not getting enough H2O to maintain itself, circulation slows down. And that can directly alter how it functions… and how we think.
And if dehydration continues, it can lead to cognitive impairment. And again, this is just from consistently coming up a mere 1% short on water intake.
A Simple Solution
So forget the harebrained (not to mention completely arbitrary), one-size-fits-all eight-by-eight rule.
If you want to make sure your body is getting all the water it needs to stay hydrated, there’s a better rule to follow.
Start by weighing yourself. Now take however many pounds you weigh and divide it in half. That’s how many ounces of water you should drink every day.
For instance, I come in at a little over 200 pounds. So I make sure to drink at least 100 ounces of water every single day. If I’m exercising, that number naturally goes up a little.
But it’s also important to listen to your body.
If you feel thirsty, drink some water.
If you go to the bathroom and notice your urine is a little discolored and leaning toward the brown side of the spectrum, drink more water.
Making sure you’re hydrated is one of the simplest ways to maintain not only good physical health but also good mental health.
So drink up.
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