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Listening to Your Body’s Cry for Water

I have been studying the effects of water on the human body and I became aware that my own water intake was below the marker of my body's needs. During my research, I also found a correlation between dehydration symptoms and the symptoms my clients often are experiencing when they arrive for treatment. 

Why Our Bodies Need Water

Water is an essential element for our mind, body, and spirit. This is especially significant since we are primarily made up of water. Staying hydrated is crucial for supporting our bodies' optimal functioning. Following are the essential roles that water plays in our bodies:

1. Lubricates the joints 

2. Moistens tissue in the eyes, nose, and mouth

3. Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells

4. Boosts skin health and beauty

5. Cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other organs

6. Regulates body temperature

7. Allows the digestive system to function

8. Flushes body waste

9. Helps maintain blood pressure

10. Dissolves minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to the body

11. Lessens the burden on the kidneys and the liver by flushing out waste products

Every day, we lose about 8-12 cups of water through breathing, perspiring, urination, and bowel movements. In general, men need at least 12 cups of fluid daily, while women require a minimum of 9 cups. Factors that increase fluid needs include exercise, hot weather, high altitude, a high-fiber diet, viruses, and increased losses from caffeine and alcohol intake. This may vary from person to person but is a generalized suggestion. 

When it Comes to Hydration, Not All Liquids are Created Equal

Did you know that caffeine is dehydrating? Studies suggest that for caffeine to have a significant diuretic effect, one must consume more than 500 mg per day - or the equivalent of 5 cups of coffee. It is beneficial to be aware of your overall caffeine intake and to note that caffeine is found not only in coffee: it is also found in medications, food, and other beverages. Being mindful of your caffeine intake will help ensure that you are hydrating your body effectively. 

Another common drink that can lead to dehydration is alcohol. Drinking alcohol suppresses a hormone produced by the brain called vasopressin, which tells the kidneys to retain fluid. Instead of retaining fluid, the body will increase urination and lose fluids. This explains why some people experience hangover symptoms similar to those of dehydration. 

The Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when you are not consuming enough fluids to replace your fluid losses. There are different levels of dehydration: mild-to-moderate and severe.

Symptoms of mild-to-moderate dehydration include:

  • Thirst

  • Headache

  • Lethargy

  • Dry mouth/tongue/lips

  • Dry skin

  • Light-headedness

  • Dizziness

  • Lack of focus

  • Decreased urination (less than 3 to 4 times a day)

  • Darker urine than usual

  • Muscle cramping.

Symptoms of severe dehydration include:

  • Lack of tears

  • Sunken eyes

  • Increased heartbeat 

  • Low blood pressure

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Possibly death

Strategies to Increase Water Intake

So, what can you do to increase your water intake? Here are some strategies that are fun and effective:

  1. Drink a glass of water first thing after waking up.

  2. Find a water bottle you like and take it with you throughout the day.

  3. Add fresh fruit to flavor your water and add nutrition to your drink.

  4. Snack on hydrating foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Melons and lettuce are rich in water content. 

  5. Download a free water tracker app. 

  6. Start a water drinking challenge with your friends.

If you are curious about what intake is right for your body please consult your primary physician. 

Happy hydrating!


Briana Pontius. 


Disclaimer:  The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a qualified and licensed physician or other medical provider with any questions before undertaking a new health care regimen. This material is for informational purposes only. 





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