You know that saying "But first, coffee" that's so popular? Well, I propose we change it. I get that coffee is an important part of a lot of people's morning routines. However, coffee is not necessary for survival. Some people reading this are disagreeing with me, but it's true. A coffee deficiency, if you are used to consuming it everyday, might seem like it's rendering you useless for the day, but it will not kill you. A water deficiency, though...that's another story.
Water is crucial to life. The average adult should be made up of 60-70% water. Unfortunately nearly 75% of adults are chronically dehydrated. It's actually the most common nutrient deficiency in the American population. Moderate dehydration may show up as fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, muscle cramps, and headaches. Severe dehydration may lead to heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, constipation and colitis. If you have any of these symptoms, then likely you need to consume more water.
Water has many life sustaining roles in the human body. These include:
a medium for metabolic reactions
a generator of hydroelectric and magnetic energy within cells
a fluid to capture and pull out toxins
a lubricant to protect joints, organs and tissues
a driver of greater muscle power, strength and endurance
a provider of electrolyte balance both within and out of cells
an assistant in blood pH regulation
a transporter of oxygen
a regulator of body temperature
a powerful healing modality
I believe that the best time to drink water is when you first wake up each morning (hence,"But first, water"). Other optimal times to hydrate are between meals and before and after exercise. If you're not feeling well due to a viral or bacterial infection, you should probably be drinking more water. You'll also need more water if you're feeling tired and sluggish. Often times, when people feel tired and sluggish they opt for caffeine or sugar, or both. Neither caffeine nor sugar are necessary for survival (Stop hating. I'm telling the truth!). I'm not trying to convince you to give up your daily cup(s) of coffee. I'm simply asking you to consider making water your first beverage of choice each morning.
You will especially need to drink more water if you choose to drink coffee since coffee is a diuretic. A diuretic is a substance that promotes the formation of urine, causing a person to lose water by diverse means. Other commonly consumed diuretics include caffeinated tea, peppermint herbal tea, sugary juices, soft drinks, alcohol and certain medications. It is recommended that for every 8 ounces of diuretic beverages you drink, you consume 12-16 ounces of water in addition to the water you're already supposed to be drinking.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
You've probably heard that we are supposed to consume 8 glasses of water each day. This is very general. Different people have different needs. I'm a firm believer in bioindividuality. As stated above, a person who consumes diuretics will need to drink more water. An active person will need more water as well. The exact amount you need also depends on your size and your stage of life. I like to recommend this formula for figuring out your minimum daily water intake:
(oz. of diuretics x 1.5) + (body weight [in lbs.] ÷ 2) = daily minimum water intake
The Benefits of Drinking Water
There are so many benefits of drinking water besides the obvious ones of it will rehydrate you and it is necessary for survival. Let's take a quick look at a few of them:
it increases energy levels and decreases fatigue
it promotes weight loss by revving up your metabolism
it flushes out nasty toxins
it improves the complexion of your skin
it boosts immunity
it promotes regularity
If I haven't yet convinced you to drink 8-16 ounces of water first thing upon waking up, then I don't know what will. Comment below to let me know if you already drink water first thing each morning or if you plan to start doing so because of this post.