Were you aware that if your body is dehydrated, it sometimes signals you to drink water by sending you hunger signals? This happens to me early in the morning. I get up to go to the bathroom, my stomach feeling like an empty pit.
I take a few swallows of water, and the empty feeling in my gut disappears. So an important way to learn to listen to your body is determining whether your hunger pangs are food signals, or water signals.
You need water. It should be your drink of choice. Why? Among other reasons…
- It cleanses your body.
- Most of your body is made of water; therefore, you need to drink plenty of it to keep your body functioning at an optimal level.
- Your bodily functions use water; e.g., your lungs expel 2-4 cups of water daily, perspiring another 2 cups (and that’s without exercising).
- It combats constipation.
- Staying hydrated lessens the severity of colds and flus.
(For an in-depth look at your body’s need for water, read Your Body’s Many Cries For Water by F. Batmanghelidj.)
For differing reasons, sodas, bottled juices and caffeinated beverages should not be considered substitutes (you may consider a cup of non-sweetened herbal tea as a cup of water, or a cup of milk as a half cup of water).
How do you know if you’re not getting enough water? Some of the symptoms of dehydration include:
- Yellow urine (if you’re properly hydrating it will be almost to completely clear)
- Excessive thirst/dry mouth
What is “enough”? Here are three guidelines to get you started:
- Drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
- Divide your body weight in half, convert to ounces and drink that much water daily.
- When you’re thirsty, drink an entire glass. But drink as soon as you begin to feel thirsty. If you wait, you begin to enter the dehydration zone.
You may find, as I did, then when you begin adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, you are less thirsty because most produce has a very high water content. That’s fine—adjust your water drinking accordingly.
What if you find yourself running to the bathroom every hour (and you’re not pregnant!) to eliminate clear urine? Or, you’re at the opposite spectrum, not eliminating much at all and then the urine is dark yellow? Simply adjust the amount of water you’ve been drinking and see what happens over the next couple of days.
An important way to be healthy is to stay hydrated. So, grab that glass of purified water and…bottoms up!