The Important Nutrient You May Be Missing

Nutritional deficiencies are becoming more and more common. With the increased consumption of processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks, the overall health of Americans continues to decline.

This you probably knew already.water-droplet-move-fw-700x380

What you probably didn’t know, is that WATER is actually the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population.

Water is the most important nutrient in the body. We can go 8 weeks without eating, however, only days without water. As we become dehydrated, which can happen very quickly, we begin to have signs of dehydration. These come in two phases:

Early Signs: Fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps, headaches

Mature Signs: Heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, constipation, colitis

So, how much water should you be drinking….?

To properly hydrate the body and prevent dehydration, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily. For example, if you weight 160lbs. you should opt to consume a minimum of 80oz. of water per day.

When someone hears that for the first time, I usually get this response: “that’s a lot of water…” or “but, I’m not thirsty…”

There is a great quote, among many, from F. Batmanghelidji, M.D., author of Your Body’s Many Cries for Water (Check out for more info) which provides some insight relating to those two very valid thoughts…

“Dry mouth is not the only sign of dehydration and waiting to get thirsty is wrong. Pain in the body is a crisis call of the body for water. Thirst should be prevented. When the body does not receive enough water and you have pain that is a sign of dehydration.”

In addition to your recommended daily intake, you may require even more water if you consume diuretic beverages. Coffee, Teas (caffeinated and some herbals), soda, alcohol and packaged fruit juices are all diuretic beverages, meaning they can be dehydrating to the body.

To compensate, for every 8oz. diuretic beverage you have, it’s important to add an additional 12oz. of water to your intake for that day to ensure proper hydration.

Proper hydration is imperative to your health!

The roles of water in our bodies are abundant. Highlighted are the ones which play a particularly important role for injury and pain.

  • Transports nutrients
  • Enables cellular hydration
  • Moistens oxygen for better breathing
  • Cushions bones and joints
  • Absorbs shocks to joints and organs
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Removes wastes
  • Flushes toxins
  • Prevents tissues from sticking
  • Lubricates joints
  • Improves cell to cell communication
  • Improves oxygen delivery to cells
  • Empowers the body’s natural healing process

Getting your daily intake of water can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • Pick out a water bottle that you enjoy drinking out of. Keeping a 24oz. or even a 32oz. bottle with you through the day will help remind you to drink. It is also an easy way to keep track of your intake.
  • Drink 8oz. every time you use the restroom to help replenish your system.
  • Add your favorite combinations of flavors to your water, such as lemon lime, strawberry kiwi, cucumber mint, etc. to also give it an extra nutrient boost.
  • Put some alerts in your phone to remind you throughout the day to DRINK.
  • Remember, not all your water has to be cold. Hydrate with some non-diuretic teas such as chamomile, peppermint or hibiscus.

Do yourself and your loved ones a favor, spend a little extra energy focusing on nourishing yourself and increase your water intake. Your body will definitely thank you!

Jessica Sullivan, LMSW, SFG, NTP

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