While carrying a water bottle is the new normal, Americans still have a long way to go to become properly hydrated. According to the National Academy of Medicine, to maintain proper hydration levels, an average adult man should be drinking 125 ounces of water daily and adult women should be drinking 91 ounces. The latest CDC Report showed that the average adult man and woman over the age of twenty drink 44 and 42 ounces of water each day respectively—significantly under-hydrating.
Hydration might be even more of an issue for children. In a European study with over 6400 children (4-17 years old) from 13 counties, 60% of them did not meet the European standards for water intake and hydration. How can we tackle this problem? First, we need to become aware of it.
In This Article
Clear Urine May Be a Sign of Dehydration
According to the Cleveland Clinic, properly-hydrated urine should be the color of straw (not clear). Clear urine, they say, sends a clear message you may be drinking too much water. Amber or honey-colored urine is your body telling you to drink more water, and a maple syrup color suggests dehydration.
Guzzling tons of water at once is not how humans are designed to stay hydrated. Over-hydrating during a meal can actually dilute digestive enzymes. Guzzling water on an empty stomach can cause it to slip right through the digestive tract without hydrating the cells, resulting in clear urine ~2 hours after the water is taken in.
The Ayurvedic Perspective: How to Hydrate
Ayurveda has long maintained that water should be sipped throughout the day—not taken in large amounts at once. Sipping hot water throughout the day (alongside normal amounts of room-temperature water) can help rehydrate your cells, too. With food, it should be taken in a small amount to help create a soup-like consistency inside the stomach. A large glass of water 30 minutes before a meal can actually aid in digestion: it will hydrate the stomach lining and prime it for breaking down food, as the stomach’s bicarbonate cell layer is 95% water.
The Goal of Hydration
The overall goal of hydration is to bring water across cell membranes in order to hydrate and nourish cells. However, water alone is a poor hydrator. In nature, food and water were typically taken together. This mixes water with minerals and amino acids that studies show will hydrate us better than water alone. The water inside of plants may be one of the best hydration of all, which is why most experts say that if you eat a healthy diet with ample fluids, optimal hydration should happen naturally.
Sadly, only 10% of Americans consume the recommended 1.5-2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of vegetables a day we need to maintain health and hydration. Even with water bottles in tow, we still are not drinking enough water.
The Role of Electrolytes
Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that dissolve in water. They usher the water and nutrients back and forth across the cell membranes, hydrating and nourishing the body’s cells. When you chew your fruits and vegetables, the water and minerals they carry mix together. This can provide about 20% of the body’s hydration needs. The higher the water content of the food, the more electrolytes (and the greater the hydration). High water content can be found in foods like cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, melons, apples, and peaches, to name a few.
While they transport nutrients in and out of cells, electrolytes play important roles in regulating the electrical potential of the cell—which is what makes muscles contract and relax. Electrolytes can be positive or negative. Salt, for example, is sodium chloride. The sodium is negatively charged while the chloride is positively charged, making table salt balanced. When salt is dissolved in water, the sodium and chloride separate, acting independently as one positively and one negatively charged ion or electrolyte. This means salt plays a huge role in cellular hydration. Here are the basic electrolytes needed for optimal hydration:
Sodium (+): Carries nutrients into the cell.
Potassium (+): As sodium enters the cell, potassium leaves (and vice versa).
Magnesium (+): Helps cells turn nutrients into energy and regulates muscular contractions.
Chloride (-): Regulates internal and external balance of cellular fluids.
Calcium (+): Involved in bone health and muscle + nerve function.
Phosphate (-): Transports nutrients outside of the cell and is necessary for calcium balance.
Hydration Requires More than Electrolytes
Note: If your digestion is weak and you struggle with certain food intolerances, you may also be struggling to absorb the nutrients needed to hydrate. If you are active, work out, or are like the 90% of Americans not getting the required serving of fruits and vegetables, you may not be getting the water and hydrating nutrients needed for optimal health.
One study showed that even mild dehydration can alter mood, energy, memory, cognitive function, and ability to handle stress. Another study showed that increasing daily water consumption to just 2 liters a day lowered blood pressure and raised body temperature.
Electrolytes play an important role in hydration but these studies show that optimal cellular hydration requires other minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.
To make hydration easier, at LifeSpa we sourced a hydration supplement called Clean Hydration without any sugars, preservatives, caffeine, stimulants, artificial additives, or unnecessary ingredients. It is naturally sweetened with stevia, non-GMO, vegetarian, and free of gluten and dairy.
LifeSpa’s Clean Hydration provides powerful hydrating nutrients with electrolytes in a highly absorbable form. These come along with chromium picolinate, which balances cortisol, serotonin, and carbohydrate metabolism during exercise. Clean Hydration also provides a hydrating vitamin complex of vitamins B, C, and E, which are shown to support athletic endurance and performance while mitigating oxidative stress. Clean Hydration also provides the amino acid taurine, shown to support athletic performance and recovery, as well as carnosine. Carnosine acts as a buffer for lactic acid buildup. It works as an antioxidant for stress while supporting healthy muscular contractions and endurance.
Directions for Clean Hydration: Mix 1 scoop in 8-16 ounces of water and sip throughout the day, with meals, or before exercise.