It’s summer in Texas and it is hot already. Just a little time outdoors causes you to overheat, sweat, and start looking for something to cool you off and quench your thirst. The body is about 60% water, and it loses water through sweating (to regulate body temperature) and urinating (to rid the body of waste). So it stands to reason that drinking water is essential to keep those resources replenished.
Water’s Essential Functions
Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going.
- It is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell.
- It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration.
- The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream; thus, it assists in flushing waste (urination and regular bowel movements).
- It acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus.
- It helps to forms saliva and lubricates the joints.
- Improves the appearance of your skin.
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” ~ Loren Eiseley
Dehydration can be very serious, and even deadly. Symptoms include:
- Extreme thirst
- Less-frequent urination
- Dark-colored urine
Drink up, as extreme thirst comes after dehydration has already begun in the body.
Hydration and Fibromyalgia
The optimum amount of water is still up for debate. 8 glasses per day? Half of your body weight? 104 ounces for men, 72 ounces for women? Suffice it to say, we all need water. Those of us with fibromyalgia may need more. Here’s why:
- Fibromyalgia can flare up with weather extremes, and it can inhibit the body’s ability to perspire and regulate temperature.
- Those with fibromyalgia can become more easily dehydrated.
- Dehydration causes fatigue and headaches, already common with fibromyalgia.
- Your immune system requires ample water to work at its best, and help fight or stave off fibro flares.
Five Ways to Drink More Water
Here are tips I use to make sure I stay properly hydrated throughout the day:
- Coffee, Tea, and Herbal Tea – Water is the basis of these drinks, but if you’re drinking them, you should only count 8 ounces towards your daily total. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and it is thought to deplete magnesium resources in the body, which are already low in those with fibromyalgia. So if you’re drinking caffeine, you should also drink an extra glass of water for every caffeinated beverage you drink.
- Fruit-Infused Water – This is a great way to add some extra flavor, but no calories. Try some of these recipes found on my Detox Pinterest board. Here’s a pitcher (similar to the one pictured below) to make fruity waters and teas at home. You can also find water bottles for on the go, like this one at Walmart.My favorite recipes are JJ Virgin’s Lemon-Aid (to curb sugar cravings) and cucumber water (to purify your skin).
- Flavored-Water – Add a bit of 100% fruit juice or a sugar-free flavoring to your water. Adding orange juice in a 1:7 ratio of oj to water will help give enough sweetness, like the lemon-aid, to curb cravings. Or add ice to dilute other drinks, like tea and juice, to help increase your water consumption and offset some of the calories.
- Take it with You – My Yeti-like mug is with me all the time (similar, similar) and keeps my water cold for many hours. It goes with me to work, to meetings, in the car to run errands, by my bed at night, etc.
- Use an App – My Water Balance helps you track your intake during the day and reminds you to drink more. I used that app for awhile, but am back to logging everything in My Fitness Pal (food, water, exercise). While this app doesn’t prompt me, I drink and log my water throughout the day to stay on track.
Water is Essential
Drinking water is essential to maintaining hydration and a well-functioning body, which is essential for us fibrowarriors. If you’re not used to drinking a lot of water, try to increase your intake a cup a day until you reach your maximum to maintain hydration. How to tell if you’re properly hydrated? Two easy ways are: Pinch your skin (it should melt back quickly) and check the color of your urine (it should be close to clear). You should be drinking enough to “go” frequently!
I hope I have given you some ideas for keeping hydrated. Do you drink fruit-infused water? What’s your favorite recipe to share or other tips for staying hydrated?