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Oftentimes the simplest things are the most important. And that couldn’t be more true for the thing on my mind this week: good old H2O.
You’ve probably heard that our bodies are made up mostly of water, and we are:
- The brain and heart are composed of 73% water
- Lungs are 83% water
- Muscles are 79% water
- Your skin contains 64% water
- Even your bones are made of 31% water (source)
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Water is literally required by every cell in our body and I can speak from personal experience that we often take water for granted. Have you ever forgotten water on a long drive or a hike? I have. There are days where I’ve accidentally drank more wine than water. Not good the next day.
Believe it or not, there is also actually a right way to drink water. And I’ll get to that.
“Research shows that dehydration is a drag to memory, attention, and energy, per a small study on adult men from China published in June 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.”Every Day Health
Ok, so what is water actually used for in the body?
This was a really hard section to keep short. Water is pretty much used for everything, but here is a sampling:
- Helping your brain function → want to perform at your best? Drink water!
- Flushing out waste from your body → helps your kidneys function and gets rid of toxins!
- Regulating body temperature → stay cool out there 😎
- It protects and lubricates your joints → helping to lessen the discomfort from arthritis and joint pain
- Critical to physical performance → you’re sweating out a lot of water so you need to replenish it to keep performing at a high level
- Boosts your energy and mood → required for staving away fatigue and even anxiety
- Important for digestion → Helps you break down nutrients, slows digestion, and can prevent constipation.
If you want to dig in more on this here is an article to read Every Day Health: Water Health. Now you need to know how to drink water the right way.
First, how much water should you drink?
The simplest formula I could find is simply this:
(Your weight x 0.67) + (12 for every 30 minutes of workout time) = ounces of water / day
Here’s an example:
(140lbs x 0.67) = 94 + (12 x 1 30 minute workout) = 106 ounces of water / day.
I ran this calculation for myself and compared it to a few online calculators and apps, for sure this is higher than what I’ve seen out there, but it’s a helpful guide.
You can also use this online water calculator to do this too. It’ll be a little easier and they take some other factors into account.
Now, the secret sauce: electrolytes
If you’ve ever run a race or been to a gas station, you’ve knocked into the beautiful bright liquid known as Gatorade. This delicious drink is actually NOT what I’m talking about, but it’s usually the first thing people think of when they think of electrolytes.
Electrolytes are minerals with an electric charge. Sodium, potassium, chroide, and magnesium are all electrolytes. These minerals combine with water in your body to do so many different tasks, and are critical to so many of the benefits of water that I mentioned earlier.
That’s why you need them.
I’m going to do a whole newsletter on electrolytes at some point because they are so important, but I wanted to make sure that I mentioned them today because no hydration story is complete without them.
You can get electrolytes from your normal diet, but most people don’t get enough that way. One way to get electrolytes is to add a pinch of salt or mineral salt, and a squeeze of lemon to your water. This isn’t a perfect formula, but it can help.
Listen to this water-filled podcast episode
I thought it’s be good to share an episode of The Model Health Show that dives into Electrolytes. It’s actually with the founder of LMNT. There is so much more in this episode than just electrolytes though, especially if you’re interested in personalized medicine.
- Metabolic individuality w/ Robb Wolf – The Model Health Show w/ Shawn Stevenson
Water tracking tools to try
Sticking with the water theme, if you want to take water tracking to the next level, which I have (it’s a disease), then I have a few recommendations.
- HidrateSpark Steel 3: I’m using this water bottle to track my water intake. It sets a daily goal and adjusts it based on your activity, and it automatically tracks how much water you’re drinking and sets reminders to drink. Clearly, this is a little over the top, so the next suggestion is more on the free side.
- This list has a bunch of apps, many of which are completely free to use. They can calculate how much water you need, let you keep track, and give you reminders to drink.
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