5 Things You Need to Know About Drinking Water

Did you know that hydrating your body isn’t always as easy as just drinking water? Here are 5 things you need to know about drinking water and sustaining adequate hydration for the average person.

As always, I have merged my personal experience, wellness education, and research together here for you. This is not medical advice. please see the GM Disclaimer at the end.

Now, let’s see what the 5 things you need to know about drinking water are.


1. The health benefits of drinking water

According to Harvard Medical School, a person should consider getting adequate water daily, not only because the body is made up of at least 60% water, but because…

Water helps:

  • carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • flush bacteria from your bladder
  • aid digestion
  • prevent constipation
  • normalize blood pressure
  • stabilize heartbeat
  • cushion joints
  • protect organs and tissues
  • regulate body temperature
  • maintain electrolyte (sodium) balance
  • maintain adequate metabolism 

To those who have ever tried to lose weight, water is essential to metabolize stored fat into energy, so much so, that the body’s metabolism can be slowed down by relatively mild levels of dehydration.

2. Your daily water intake baseline

When it comes to how much water you should have, the answer isn’t always simple. 

Your daily activity level, age, current medications, weather, weight loss goals, genetics, pregnancy/nursing status, and health history all help to determine your daily amount of water. 

According to Mayo Clinic, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (124 ounces) of fluids a day for men
  • About 11.5 cups (92 ounces) of fluids a day for women

According to weight watchers, there is a formula you can use to find out your daily water intake: If you’re between 30-55 years old, multiply your bodyweight by 0.56. The number you get is the amount of water you should have in ounces.

FYI: The CDC found that the average American has around 40 ounces of water daily. 

In my (non-medical) opinion, recommendations and formulas like these can be great to determine your water intake baseline. From there, it may fluctuate based on your daily activity level, state of health, current medications, alcohol consumption, environment, and personal nutritional needs.

3. Your drinking habits (not the boozy ones)

Did you know that your drinking habits may be rooted from your childhood?

I hope most know that by now that sugar is addictive. It activates the same reward system in your brain that cocaine does. If fruit juice, pop/soda, and other sugary drinks were the norm in your childhood, sugary beverages may be what your body still craves today.

Instead of focusing on taking sugary beverages away. Focus on what you can add to water to make it more enjoyable. This may be a better approach to replace a habit that no longer serves you. For example, start by adding in flavored packets or drops to give water a taste you’re used to. From there, try adding only fruits or veggies to add flavor.

It may also be what you observed as a child. Was drinking water throughout the day modeled to you? It’s something to think about if you are a parent now.

Once you can understand where those habits may have come from, you can begin to make small changes that align with your wellness goals. I would suggest that you start with mindset of adding small habits, not focusing on eliminating or restricting.

When I was growing up milk and water were our main beverage options. We were allowed 1 pop/soda a week and occasionally had a juice box put in our lunch for school. In fact, it was a treat to have grape juice with our spaghetti dinners (get it?). My Mom held her ground when it came to sugary drinks, and as an adult now, I am very appreciative of that. 

I am a huge water drinker, and I attribute part of that habit to how I grew-up. 

As an adult, I will still typically choose water over another beverage. When I was a high school teacher, you would never find me without my huge water bottle close by. This is the time when I also noticed my thirst level increase.

Additionally, one of my first symptoms of pregnancy was having an insatiable thirst level. From there, this insatiable thirst seemed to last beyond pregnancy and nursing. (#5 will explain why)

4. The importance of electrolytes

Simply, electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge when dissolved in water. Since our body is about 60% water, we can assume that electrolytes are in the majority of our body’s cells (Cleveland Clinic). Elecyrolytes are vital for our nervous system, muscles, and hydration. They help your body stay balanced.

Electrolytes include:

  • Sodium.
  • Potassium.
  • Chloride.
  • Calcium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Phosphate.
  • Bicarbonate.

Signs that your electrolytes are out of balance: muscle twitching and cramping, increased thirst, irritability, craving salty foods, headache, irregular heart rate, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, tingling feeling, and poor endurance. 

There are several reasons your minerals and electrolytes may be out of balance. The obvious ones include vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive exercise. However, there are possible causes that I would have never considered before diving deep into mineral education. Those include stress (all kinds), digestive issues, blood sugar imbalances, and thyroid disorders.

Contact your healthcare provider for testing if you think you have an imbalance.

Personally, I had an hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) test done and, then I invested in nutritionist (linked below). From there, we determined that there were some pretty significant minerals I was deficient in. This test also helped explain why my thirst level was so high too. My body was craving minerals, not over a gallon of water a day.

(An HTMA test gives a view into your body’s nutritional state, heavy metal load, and ratios between minerals. Mineral ratios are indicators of adrenal function, thyroid function, carbohydrate metabolism, and your body’s overall ability to handle stress.) 

Contact this incredible nutritionist, Colleen Clensen, and mention “Gingerly Mama” for $20 off on your first session and more information on testing. 

5. Your body’s nutritional needs

When your body has an imbalance of nutrients, it may send signals to the brain that can be misunderstood. Hunger and thirst signals are often misunderstood if we don’t know the root cause. 

It’s pretty incredible that our body is able to communicate what it needs. For example, did you know that the chocolate craving you have around menstruation is a way of telling your body it needs magnesium (dark chocolate is high in) which is calming and helps sleep quality. Additionally, chocolate’s inflammatory antioxidants help increase brain function and reduce inflammation.

Additionally, your baseline water intake will fluctuate based on your daily diet and activity level. Once you start understanding the communication your body is sending, and nourishing it with nutrients it in low it, true satiation will occur. If you’ve never invested into the root cause of your symptoms with nutrient level testing, I highly recommend you try it. 

As a healthy female, I thought my thirst level was completely normal, and that my habit of drinking over a gallon a day was healthy. At the high end (pregnancy/nursing), I was drinking 128-200 ounces in 24 hours. 

Then, I had my HTMA test done and invested in a nutritionist, Colleen Clensen. We found that my body was low in crucial minerals that were contributing to my thirst. When I thought my body was craving water, it was craving minerals. 

The amount of water I was drinking at the time was also flushing minerals out of my body too quickly. We discovered that my mineral deficiency was related to my body’s constant state in fight or flight (stress) and previous pregnancies (that take a lot of our minerals).

Once I began to nourish my body with the minerals I was depleted in, my thirst level changed. Today, I usually drink between 70-100 ounces a day, and I feel hydrated! Additionally, I feel less bloated, my skin is not dry, my energy is up, and I’m sleeping better. 

In the end, invest in a health expert to see what nutrients your body may be really be craving. If it’s not minerals, it may be another nutrient that is sending mixed signals to your brain. Once you understand those, you can have clarity and confidence in what you need to consume.

Simple hydration tips:

  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. Our body becomes naturally dehydrated when we sleep, so hydrating with water is the best thing! (Prepare this glass before you go to bed, so it’s ready for you before you even have to get out of bed)
  • Invest in a large water bottle to keep better track and take less trips to refill. (My favorite 64 ounce bottle)
  • If you don’t want to buy more water bottles, pre-fill the bottles you do have with the daily amount you need to drink
  • Add minerals to your water for hydration. I personally use these trace mineral drops to my water once a day
  • Add fruit or cucumber to water for taste
  • 20% of your daily water usually comes from food (fruit/vegetables), but the remaining 80% should come from drinking water
  • Coconut water is an excellent electrolyte source. It’s high in potassium and also has some sodium, calcium, and magnesium.
  • Use an electrolyte powder like Liquid IV in one of your glasses of water a day
  • Organic Gatorade is a better option than the others that have artificial dyes

Some of my favorite water bottles: 

Not pictured: Simple Modern 42 ounce, Stanley 40oz, and the classic Tervis (hello 2000s)

GM Disclaimer 

Not medical advice. The information on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. By accessing or using this website, you agree to abide by the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Copyright Policy.


Sources

“Electrolytes.” Cleveland Clinic. 24 September, 2021. Accessed on 3 March, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html

“Get the Facts: Data and Research on Water Consumption.” CDC. Accessed on 3 March, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html

“Water: How Much Should You Drink Everyday?” Mayo Clinic. 12 Oct, 2022. Accessed on 3 March, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

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