Water represents the foundation of all living things. As humans, we understand how important it is to stay properly hydrated, but there seems to be a lot of debate over how to meet those goals. Even with all the mass-marketed sports drinks, water is still the healthiest beverage for our bodies. Around 60 percent of our bodies is made up of water, so it’s nothing short of essential. So, Waiakea asks, how do we know if we’re getting enough?
Fact and Fiction
Perhaps the most widely-circulated advice states that we need at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, around 64 ounces total. This has become almost standard when discussing the great hydration debate. While in general this may be a positive measure for many to follow, the truth is not so straightforward.
There are no scientific studies that directly support the 8-glass rule. In fact, many studies show that 64 ounces is inadequate. Many experts estimate that men need closer to 104 ounces per day and women need around 72 ounces. Although this may seem like an alarming discrepancy that suggests we’re all dehydrated, there is much more to consider behind these figures.
We ingest water through a variety of food and drink that contributes to our overall water intake every day. All foods contain some percentage of water. Foods such as fruits and vegetables are over 90 percent water by weight, especially choices such as melons and berries. When we eat these water-rich foods, we’re hydrating ourselves at the same time. Non-alcoholic drinks like coffee, tea, juice, and milk are water-based, as well. When you take into account the significant amount of water consumed through our regular eating and drinking habits, it adds up quickly. Moreover, your daily water requirement is nearly impossible to measure simply because it will change each day.
No Magic Formula
The fact is that water intake needs vary from person to person, based on a variety of different factors. Your gender, weight, age, and physical activity all play a role in how much water you need to drink every day. Even the climate in which you live and subtle changes in the weather will impact your hydration levels.
Since we lose so much water so quickly when we sweat, exercise greatly influences the necessary water intake for any individual. If you exercise frequently or spend a lot of time in a hot, dry environment, you need to replenish the water in your body more often and in larger quantities. Even if you aren’t dripping with sweat, your body is constantly using and losing your precious water resources. One way to gauge whether or not you are well-hydrated is if your urine is darker in color. This may mean you are in the beginning stages of dehydration and you need to consume more water immediately.
As a general rule, listen to your body. When you feel thirsty, your body is telling you it needs water before its resources become too depleted. Many of us might not take this signal so seriously and might grab a bubbly soda to quell the sensation of thirst. The one and only right choice is to provide your body with what it’s craving – water.
Quality is Critical
Despite the fact that all liquids contain some percentage of water, not all drinks are equally efficient at quenching your thirst. Even if you drink water, you may notice that not all water is equally hydrating. In truth, some of the healthiest water we ingest is the water that’s naturally occurring in our foods. The water in fruits and vegetables still contains many of the vital elements that come from the Earth, such as minerals. Most tap water and even a majority of the bottled waters on the market do not contain essential minerals.
Important trace minerals include calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium, which are commonly known as electrolytes. Electrolytes are actually what give water its hydrating properties. The combination of these minerals perform a variety of important tasks in our bodies, including transporting water molecules. This is how our bodies maintain an ideal level of hydration. Electrolytes are naturally-occurring, but are often lost in purification, sanitizing, and filtration processes commonly employed by water companies. The companies that utilize the processes most are those which use low-quality water sources, like the municipal tap.
A select few, such as water company Waiakea, are raising the bar on healthy water. Waiakea bottles their water at its natural source, the base of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. Before this, the water travels through layers of porous volcanic rock, enriching it with the Earth’s minerals. Waiakea also offers some of the only bottled water with an impressive pH level of 8.2. This means that the water is alkaline, another key factor in proper hydration. Alkaline water consists of smaller molecules that are easier for your body to absorb, making it all the more effective at revitalizing your whole being. Waiakea offers water in 500 mL to 1 liter bottles, with a new option of 700mL bottles. The convenience of varied sizing helps ensure you can always have the best water with you at home or on the go.
Water is by far the best option to ensure proper hydration. But myths and well-intentioned advice abound on how much water you should be drinking. How much water you need every day varies widely based on a myriad of different factors. One of the best things you can do is to listen to your body. When you do reach for that water, remember that not all water will quench your thirst and replenish your body equally. High-quality water with essential electrolytes like Waiakea is an excellent option for anyone who wants powerful hydration with great taste.