The Benefits of Hydration and Tips to Finally Make It Happen


Benefits of Hydration


I haven’t always been the most hydrated person…My life is so busy, that drinking water is the last thing on my mind most days. There was a period of a few weeks where I wasn’t feeling my best. I couldn’t figure out what it was until I happened across a post on pinterest about hydration. I realized then that I was drinking way too much coffee and way too little water, and I was reminded that drinking water at certain times of day can be extremely beneficial for your health. There exist many benefits to being hydrated, but the ones I notice the most are:

Lower Blood Pressure – Hydrated blood flows much better which reduces the effort needed to circulate it around the body. This is also a bonus for my hair growth issues as hydrated blood carries nutrients around the body much better which provides building blocks for healthy hair, skin, and all of your cells in general!

Reduced Acne – Drinking water helps to flush toxins from the body through urination, but, if there is no water to flush toxins, then those toxins manifest in other ways. They can escape the body through our pores which can result in breakouts. Our skin cells also need water to function properly and maintain nice cell shape. If we are dehydrated our skin might flake, crack, or wrinkle which is not ideal for the biggest organ of our bodies!

Improved Digestion – When water is able to flush the toxins from the system, it purifies the digestive tract which allows for more complete digestion of foods and absorption of nutrients. To take full advantage of the healthy diet that I KNOW we all constantly maintain.... :) we have to have a clean digestive tract. I take a lot of supplements and eat foods directly targeting specific health goals, so if I cannot fully digest the foods that I eat and absorb the nutrients, I am definitely not going to see the results I am aiming for!

Detoxification – Water is a great tool for flushing toxins from the body through urination. We also flush toxins through our sweat, so making sure that we have enough water in our system to sweat safely without majorly dehydrating the body will promote healthy detoxification.

Increased Energy – The body needs water to produce energy efficiently, so when there is a deficiency, the body cannot fuel itself as well. I always notice that my workouts are lacking when I am dehydrated. It is pretty much impossible for me to drink enough water during a workout to feel good if I have not hydrated well the day before. I will talk about this later in the article, but I also drink a glass right when I get out of bed because I notice that it helps wake me up way better than coffee or caffeinated tea. 


Signs You May be Dehydrated 


If you are concerned that you might be dehydrated, here are some common symptoms to consider. I notice many of these when I am dehydrated.

You don’t feel thirsty….ever – I notice that when I am extremely dehydrated, my body compensated for me by “quenching” my thirst. This, of course, does not help. The body will try and find sources of water in other ways. A large portion of our water intake is from the foods that we eat, so often times you will feel hungry when you are actually just dehydrated. This is not good if you are trying to maintain a healthy diet. If you do feel the desire to snack, try drinking  a glass of water, waiting 20 minutes or so, and, if you are still hungry, eating water based snacks like cut veggies.

Yellow Urine – This sign is the most common. Healthy urine runs clear. When your urine looks yellow at all, you are dehydrated. My sister always says that you should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water, so try measuring your ounces for the day using a water counter app and you may realize that you drink a lot less than you think! Sometimes I am sure that I drank enough, notice yellow urine, check my ounces for the day prior, and realize I have been majorly slacking.

Headache and dizziness upon standing – When you are dehydrated, you may notice more frequent headaches. This is because water lowers your blood pressure. That helps blood flow more easily, reducing these issues. If you stand up and the world goes fuzzy for a few seconds, it may be caused by dehydration. The blood is not hydrated enough to make it up to your head quickly after standing. This symptom is always the first to go away when I start hydrating.

Dry, cracked lips and skin – when you are dehydrated, your skin cells will not have enough water to maintain their shape. Instead, they shrivel, causing cracked and flakey skin. We need water for our skin to maintain its elasticity. I always used to think that I just was a dry-skinned person until I went to Hawaii where there was a lot of moisture in the air. After that I could not go back to dry skin, so I hydrated like mad and now my skin is always soft and supple. This is another good thing to note, you may not experience this symptom if you live in a humid climate, definitely do not take your soft skin as assurance that you are drinking enough water! Check all of these other symptoms as well and then make the judgement.

Bad Breath – A lot of us attribute bad breath to what we ate or drank, but often times your bad breath is caused by dehydration. We produce a lot of saliva which has antibacterial properties. When we can’t produce enough saliva due to dehydration, that allows the bacteria to run rampant. I did not learn that this was a symptom until recently, and, honestly, I feel like it explains all of my cavities over the years! I have great oral hygiene but could never maintain clean breath throughout the day. Now that I am hydrated, I hardly ever need gum or other breath aids.
 (Source)

Struggles of Hydration


Why is it so hard to stay hydrated? The biggest reason for me is that I just don’t have enough time! I am always out in classes, working on homework, and doing things with friends! I never remember to drink a glass here and a glass there. The other problem is that I can’t be needing to pee all the time! I can’t leave class for a bathroom break every day, or stop between classes! Finally, Moscow water just is not delicious…. It tastes mostly like iron. Some people just do not like the flavor of water which I can definitely relate to depending on where the water is from.

My Hydration schedule


I learned how to stay hydrated using this simple schedule. It became habit to drink a glass at each of these times. I honestly started to crave my glass. My energy improved, my face cleared up, my digestion improved, headaches disappeared, and my breath was nice and fresh! Here is my schedule:

1 Glass right when I wake up: it is important that the first thing you put in your body each day is water. I have a bad habit of grabbing coffee first… but then I am spending the whole day chasing hydration and losing. When I start the day with a glass of water, my metabolism starts up early, and I start the day with my hydration meter in the green.

1 Glass 20-30 minutes before breakfast: Like mentioned earlier, running water through your digestive tract when it is empty helps to flush out toxins which allows for more thorough digestion and improved absorption of nutrients.

A sparkling or detox water drink: After class, I like to sit down and watch a show or read before I start my work. Drinking a glass of sparkling water or some detox water makes me feel like I had a sweet snack, but it is healthy and hydrating. Detox water is water that has been infused with different fruits or veggies that have been steeping in it. These fruits and veggies have detoxifying properties. There are so many recipes for detox water, so there is a flavor for everyone. Here are 25 recipes for detox water from Lose Weight By Eating! If you do not have time to put together some detox water, some sparkling water (all natural, of course) is a good hydrating alternative, although this option will not provide detoxifying benefits as well.

1 Glass 20-30 minutes before lunch: Explained above

1 Glass before and 1 Glass after any workout: We lose a lot of our water throughout our workout, so it is really important to go into your workout with water in your system and replenish when you are done with your workout. Do not forget to drink water throughout your workout as well! 

A protein shake and vegetable snack: It is extremely important to have about 20 grams of protein after every workout. So I suggest killing two birds with one stone by making a high protein, water based shake to replenish. I put fruit, milk, water, chlorophyll (for digestion), blackstrap molasses (for iron), and vegetarian protein powder in my protein shakes. I have another article on protein shakes, so definitely search it and read it next for more details on what I use and why. I usually finish my workout, blend up my protein shake, put on a hydrating face mask, and watch a show or read before I shower. Vegetables have a lot of water in them too, and they are an extremely low calorie snack. Fill up your stomach with as many vegetables as you want! They will quench your hunger, hydrate you, and fill your body with vitamins. Plus, if you are snacking on veggies rather than unhealthy snacks, you may find that you lose the extra few pounds you have been stuck with.

1 Glass before showering: It is said that drinking a glass of water before taking a shower lowers your blood pressure.  A lot of people, including myself, take the hottest showers possible which really dehydrates you! I like to enter my shower with my hydration meter in the green and then lotion when I am done to replenish the moisture lost in my skin.

1 Glass 20-30 minutes before dinner: Explained above

A cup of herbal or caffeine free tea: While I am working or relaxing in the evening, I love to drink a calming, detoxifying cup of tea. This practice has so many benefits. It helps with hydration as well as provides many other benefits depending upon your tea of choice. For more about using tea to detox and choosing a type of tea for your health goals, read this article, Tea Time, that I wrote a little while back. In it, I go over using tea to improve hair growth, detoxify the liver, clear up your skin, burn fat, and improve digestion.

1 Glass before bed: Finally, drink a glass of water before bed. It is said that this reduces your chances of heart attack and stroke. I always notice that I fall asleep faster after a glass of water.

Just because I have this schedule does not at all mean that I always follow it, but I have a rule where, if I realize I forgot to drink a glass, I drink a glass to make up for it right then. This helps keep me accountable. Before you start this hydration challenge, I need to warn you: you will have to pee every 30 minutes for the first few days of your hydration journey. Push through it! Your bladder needs to acclimate to your increased water intake, and then you will be back to your normal schedule, I promise! 

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