The Vitality of Proper Hydration

Posted on December 22, 2023

The Vitality of Proper Hydration

The National Institutes of Health has a dire warning for us all: Stay properly hydrated or face an increased risk of accelerated aging, chronic illness, and even the potential for premature death. This warning is based on data collected over 25 years from more than 11,000 adults in the United States. Focusing on the levels of sodium in the participants' blood, the researchers behind this study measured how hydrated each participant was on average. They found that the less hydrated the participants were, the higher their risk levels for a myriad of health concerns. 

This landmark research provided the latest piece of evidence that remaining hydrated is central to positive health outcomes. With this in mind, it is important to explore everything possible about how to remain properly hydrated. 

Consequences of Dehydration

Anyone can face dehydration if they aren't careful about replacing the fluids that their body loses throughout the day. To better understand this, consider the definition of dehydration provided by the Mayo Clinic

Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don't replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.

The consequences of remaining dehydrated over time can become quite serious. Young children and older adults are particularly at risk, but anyone can potentially become the victim of dehydration. Look for some of the common symptoms of dehydration to help keep yourself protected against the worst outcomes that could occur. The National Health Service states that the following are symptoms of dehydration: 

  • Feeling thirsty
  • A dry mouth
  • Dark yellow and/or strong-smelling pee 
  • Peeing less often than usual
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • Irritability

You may experience some of these symptoms and not others. Be mindful about watching out for these symptoms and attempt to address the situation as soon as possible. 

Common Myths and Misconceptions

Given that water is the basis of all life, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that there are many myths and misconceptions about hydration and dehydration. Unfortunately, many of these myths and misconceptions continue to circulate throughout the population and mislead many people. Let's address some of these myths so you can better inform yourself about what is true about hydration and dehydration. The National Council on Aging offers some of the top myths about hydration and dehydration that you might also believe.

Myth #1: If You Aren't Thirsty, You Aren't Dehydrated 

Many people use thirst as a barometer of their hydration levels. However, this is not exactly the ideal way to know if you are dehydrated or not. The fluid levels in your body can drop 2-3% before you begin to feel thirsty. You are already losing fluids and perhaps headed towards a state of dehydration before you feel thirsty at all. Don't rely on your level of thirst to inform you about your hydration levels. 

Myth #2: Everyone Should Drink 8 Glasses of Water Per Day 

You have likely heard people saying that everyone should drink 8 glasses of water per day. This rule of thumb is something that has been passed down throughout the generations. However, 8 glasses of water is not necessarily the appropriate amount for everyone. Factors such as your diet, weight, level of physical activity, and the weather and climate where you live all factor into the equation. 

Myth #3: Coffee is Dehydrating 

Drinking Coffee Dehydrates You

Many people wrongfully believe that coffee is dehydrating and takes away from your levels of hydration overall. However, medical studies have been run to test this theory, and it turns out that this assumption is largely inaccurate. Moderate coffee consumption does NOT take away from your hydration levels at all, and it can be counted towards your level of hydration overall. The study found that consuming up to 4 cups of coffee per day does not take away from your hydration. 

Myth #4: Sports Drinks are the Best Solution for Dehydration

There is a lot of marketing money behind advertising sports drinks, but they aren't necessarily the best answer to dehydration. Instead of reaching for this artificial method of hydrating, drinking something natural like coconut water is a better way to go about things. Coconut water has several advantages and benefits to your health. It is full of nutrients, can help lower blood sugar levels, improve your heart health, and helps to keep you fully hydrated of course. Therefore, you should grab coconut water instead of a sports drink if you are looking for the best way to keep yourself hydrated. 

Note these myths and work hard to inform yourself about what the true facts are regarding hydration and dehydration.

Practical Tips for Optimal Hydration

Staying hydrated at optimal levels takes some work and planning. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Health Center offers some useful tips for helping anyone stay hydrated in a way that will keep them healthy and feeling their best. Tips include: 

  • Set Alarms on Your Phone and/or Watch - We all carry electronic devices around with us these days, and we might as well use them to our advantage. One way that some people do this is to set alarms for themselves to go off throughout the day. Those alarms are small reminders or nudges to drink more water. 
  • Drink a Glass of Water Before Each Meal - It is ideal to drink a full glass of water before each meal. Not only does the meal serve as a good reminder to drink the water, but your body can digest food better after it has been provided with hydration before eating. 
  • Add Some Flavoring - These days, there are plenty of water flavoring options that you can choose from. Add some of these to your water to make it tastier and easier to drink. To keep things on the healthy side, you should look for calorie-free water flavorings to avoid adding extra calories to your diet. 
  • Switch Out Sugary Drinks for Sparkling Water - Many of us are guilty of drinking sugary drinks such as sodas or energy drinks. Consuming these drinks from time to time isn't such a bad thing, but you should try to swap at least some of them out for sparkling water to get more hydration into your life. 
  • Make It a Challenge For Yourself - Set a goal for yourself each day and try to hit the goals that you have set. Gamifying your water consumption like this can help you stay on track and drink the amount of water that you need to remain healthy.

These strategies can help you stay hydrated all year long. Keep this up because you want to remain well-hydrated and healthy all year long. 

Hydration and Performance

There is a direct correlation between hydration and physical performance. We often think of this concerning athletes, but it goes beyond just that. Yes, athletes are always concerned with remaining hydrated while they are performing on the field. However, we should also think about hydration and physical performance for everyday individuals as well. 

Whenever we exert ourselves physically, our bodies begin to sweat. This is a way of cooling the body off and keeping us from overheating. At the same time, it is important to recognize that this process also lowers our hydration levels. Thus, consuming fluids to replace what is lost to sweat is extremely vital to do. 

Hydration and Cognitive Performance 

Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining the highest level of cognitive performance possible. It turns out that even mild dehydration can cause a decrease in one's cognitive performance. This is characterized as drinking 4 cups or less of water per day. As previously mentioned, these levels may vary from person to person. 

The effects of less-than-optimal cognitive performance might include excessive fatigue, moodiness, and even a lack of ability to remain focused. Fortunately, the good news is that improving one's level of hydration can turn some of these symptoms around. Drinking water and other fluids to bring your hydration levels back to healthy levels is the first step to take. Be mindful of any cognitive symptoms that you might be experiencing because of dehydration and address those issues right away. 

Hydration's Impact on Aging

The aging process happens to all of us no matter what. However, one's level of hydration has an impact on the speed with which the aging process occurs. Dehydration can lead directly to an increased rate of speed with which aging occurs. The internal organs rely upon being properly hydrated, and they don't perform as well if they are not provided with the amount of hydration that they require. 

Aging is often thought of in terms of one's physical appearance, and that is certainly part of the aging process. That said, part of the process also has to do with how one's internal systems function. Without proper hydration, your internal organs cannot do what they need to do as efficiently as possible. Less than optimal performance from one's internal organs contributes to the aging process almost more than anything else. Keep this in mind as you consider the steps that you must take to stay hydrated. 

More Than Just Water

Simply drinking water will help your levels of hydration, but this is not the only thing that you should do to maintain your levels of hydration. The Mayo Clinic explains why coconut water is the preferred beverage of those who want to reach optimal hydration levels: 

Some people drink coconut water for its electrolytes. Those are charged minerals that help you stay hydrated. The body loses water and electrolytes from sweating during exercise or hard work and from illnesses such as diarrhea. Electrolytes in coconut water include potassium, sodium and manganese. The amounts vary by brand.

The added benefit of electrolytes makes coconut water even more appealing than plain water. Add the fact that coconut water tastes great into the equation, and you can see why it is the preferred choice for those who are taking their hydration seriously. 

Laird Superfood Products for Hydration 

At Laird Superfood, we take the hydration process very seriously. We understand that more and more of the public is becoming aware of the vital nature of remaining properly hydrated. That is why we offer several products that can help our customers reach optimal hydration levels. Our Hydrate and Hydrate Single Serve products are two that we are particularly proud of. 

Hydrate Powder 

Our Hydrate Powder product is something that you can add to a water bottle or simple glass of water. You will enjoy the coconut taste as well as an extra boost of calcium added to our powder to make it even healthier for you than it already was. This makes our powder a true superfood, and it is something that we encourage our customers to try. You only need one scoop to add to your glass of water to boost the hydration power of that glass of water for yourself. 

Hydrate Single Serve 

There is no doubt that many of us live extremely busy lives, and we might not have the time to stop and scoop out the powder and add it to a glass of water. Instead, you can opt for the Hydrate Single Serve offering. This is the same powder, but it is packaged up in a single-serve stick for you to pour into your water no matter where you are. This is a great way to ensure that you remain hydrated even as you carry on with your busy life. Don't miss out on the opportunity to add this to your strategy for keeping yourself properly hydrated. 

You can order either of these products today to begin the process of taking care of your hydration levels. It can help you feel better, perhaps slow the aging process, and improve your cognitive abilities. There are too many benefits on the table not to take advantage of the benefits that come with these products. You can place an order online today to have it shipped out to you rapidly. Enjoy the life-changing benefits of staying hydrated in an optimal manner. 

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