There’s more to water than just drinking enough. Understanding water consumptions impact on our health, how to properly hydrate, and knowing what’s in the water you’re drinking…are all important things to consider.
Did you know that, simply drinking water can trigger the release of stored body fat? Drinking water can increase your metabolic rate through a process called water induced thermogenesis. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that, drinking about 17 ounces of water within a few minutes, you can increase your metabolism by 30%! This increase began within 10 minutes and lasted up to 40 minutes.
Water is important for many functions in the body. None of the processes of the metabolism can take place without the presence of water! A big part of optimal health is making sure you get the proper amount of water that works for you.
Water isn't just H2O
Not only is getting enough water crucial, the type of water you drink matters as well. Water isn’t just H2O, it’s H2O with other things dissolved in it, and the things dissolved in it helps determine how it hydrates or dehydrates your body. For example, drinking too much ocean water can in fact kill you. This is because the excessive salt and mineral content prevents it from traveling into your cells when you drink it. Instead, that water stays secluded in your extra cellular fluid and because of osmosis, the water that you do have in your cells is leached out to try and reduce the concentration of minerals outside of the cells. So even though you may be drinking this ocean water, the excessive mineral content causes dehydration within your cells and this can be life threatening. Water is always moving from a place of less concentrated solution-where there is more water and less minerals-to a place of concentrated solution-where there are more minerals and less water. Water is driven to go where it’s needed. That’s why on the other side, not having enough minerals/salts in your water can hurt you too.
In order to properly hydrate, you need water that has some trace of minerals in it. If you use a water filtration system and/or drink distilled water, you simply need to add minerals to the water you drink to give it some structure. This could be in the form of mineral drops, high quality salts, and/or adding some fresh fruits, or veggies. Fruits and veggies provide minerals and electrons to the water that give it a charge and structure as well. The minerals mentioned are in a natural, low concentration so they make the water more hydrating.
What's in tap water?
If you’re drinking tap water, you may want to know about a report published by the Associated Pressed. They found nearly 41 million Americans have been consuming polluted pharmaceutical chemicals within their water! From antidepressants, to pain relievers, to hormone replacement meds…56 pharmaceutical chemicals were found in water supplies. If you’re curious how this happens, and without getting too deep, as humans we’ve been consuming these drugs for many years. They’re metabolic by products…aka when people poop/pee them out, they’re finding their way back into the water supply. Even though our wastewater is heavily treated, there currently are not systems that can eliminated all the chemicals within drugs that are being consumed. As the wastewater is treated and released into our rivers and oceans, it eventually makes its way back into our water systems indirectly. Or it’s being used directly as additional water for agricultural purposes, landscape irrigation, industrial processes, replenishing ground water basins, and even for drinking water. In fact, some experts say that recycled water is safe to drink and it’s part of the solution to solve the growing need for clean water sources. The crazy part is people seem to like it! Researchers at the University of California found that, in a blind taste test more people preferred the taste of recycled tap water over conventual ground tap water and filtered bottled water.
Reverse osmosis systems work well because they can filter out pharmaceutical chemicals and pesticides, by pushing water through a very tight membrane that these chemicals cannot filter through. But remember, you need to add some minerals back in for proper structure and hydration. Alkaline filters do not address these issues at all; you will just be drinking alkaline water with a zest of chemicals.
If you are not filtering your tap water, your body essentially becomes the filter!
What we really need to understand is, these things intrinsically affect our cells, our hormones, metabolisms, and body in subtle but REAL ways! Yes, we need to be adamant about our hydration, BUT also choose clean sources.
How much water do we need?
The most important marker is listening to your body. Which can be easier said than done. The standard recommendations do not consider our different heights, weights, activity levels, or current states of health. There are no distinct signs on how much water each of us needs. But what we do know is, that most people are not drinking enough. Until you can mindfully determine how much water your body needs and functions optimally on, a simply rule of thumb is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that by two. That number is the number of ounces you need to consume at a minimum each day.
The two best ways to ensure you’re drinking enough water are:
1. Drink water first thing in the morning. While we are asleep our bodies undertake hundreds of different processes to repair damaged tissues, strengthen our immune system, eliminate old cells, and so much more. All of those result in a large amount of metabolic waste products that need to be removed. Drinking water when you wake up helps to flush these waste products out of your body. If you do not, you’ll risk them slowing your metabolism down. Not to mention, your hydration levels are down because of the time you have gone without water while you were asleep for several hours. When you wake up your body needs water first! Plus, you’ll also receive that metabolic boost mentioned above!
2. Always keep it on hand. To ensure you are drinking enough water, simply have it with you!