There are many hydration myths swirling around out there like the exact amount of water your body needs. Hydration is much more than just drinking water. Hydration is about sodium, potassium, sweat, and pee (yes, pee!). It’s also about what you eat as much as what you drink.
Although hydration seems like a simple thing, it actually isn’t as simple as it sounds.
We recommend that you avoid these hydration myths and calibrate this balance correctly so you can supercharge your health.
Myth #1: You’ll reach your hydration goal by only drinking water.
Your hydration balance depends on how active you are throughout the day, weight, elevation and even humidity. A healthy diet delivers about 20 percent of fluid intake. For example, someone that works at a computer desk is going to have a different balance than someone who runs marathons for a living.
You can get a lot of your daily water intake by eating fruits and vegetables high in water content. Watermelon, grapefruit, cucumber, broccoli, apples, and grapes are a great way to increase your fluid consumption. Another way to easily drink more water is to infuse your water with berries, lemon, kiwi or oranges.
There have been studies shown that if your fluids are flavored, you’ll drink more. Keep your water interesting!
Myth #2: You can be healthy without good hydration.
Dehydration can affect your daily life and bodily functions. Even minor dehydration can affect physical and cognitive performance, as well as overall health. Imagine your cells are happily swimming around in a pool. Dehydration reduces the amount of fluid circulating in your bloodstream. This makes your heart work harder, limits your body’s ability to cool itself,f, and fatigues your muscles.
During dehydration, your blood becomes thicker, stickier and more concentrated. So don’t shrug off hydration and pay attention to the signs. One easy way to tell is the color of your urine. If it’s dark and yellow, that’s a sure sign you dehydrated. If it’s clear or only a tint of yellow is present, you are hydrated.
Myth #3: Avoid salty foods and you’ll be fine
This is far from true. Sodium isn’t necessarily bad for you. You need sodium to survive, and your body can’t produce it on its own. The electrolyte contributes to the blood volume, and if you’re active, that’s a biggie. You’ve probably heard or seen people pass out when they are working out hard because their body is full of water and not enough sodium. You lose sodium by sweating and through urine. Replacing it is essential for proper hydration. Our hydration evolves water is full of electrolytes and the perfect companion on a hard workout.
Maintaining normal blood volume helps your skin dissipate heat, absorb nutrients and delivers oxygen to hardworking muscles.
What You Lose When You Sweat
You lose a lot of nutrients and water through sweating. Here is what happens as you lose water weight:
1 to 2% body water loss: Aerobic function becomes impaired. Physical work capacity decreases
2% body water loss: Thirst, increased heart rate, irritability.
4% body water loss: Blood pressure drops which increases fainting risk. Sweating stops.
7% body water loss: Blood slows and may cause organ damage
(Note: Body water loss of 1% is less than 2 lb. weight loss for a guy weight 175 lb.)
Myth #4: Bananas prevent dehydration cramps
Although bananas are known for their potassium, there is nothing magical about bananas. Potassium is another electrolyte that helps blunt the effects of sodium and moves it out of your body. Think of sodium and potassium on the opposite sides of a seesaw, working to balance each other to achieve proper hydration.
According to Megan Meyer, Ph.D., of the International Food Information Council Foundation, most people only get around half of the recommended 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily.
Myth #5: Everyone needs eight glasses of water a day
That’s like saying everyone needs to eat 2,800 calories a day.
It all depends on your body weight, activity level, and temperature. Your personal range can vary from as little as two quarts to more than six quarts per day.
On days when you don’t exercise, assess your pee because it’s hard to tell if you are hydrated or not. Your urine should look like lemonade than water or apple juice. Dark urine often reflects dehydration.
On days when you do a workout, weigh yourself pre and post-exercise. For every pound of weight you lose, you’ll need to drink about 20 ounces of fluid to restore balance.