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Hydration, how and why?

by Maureen St. Germain

Maureen has been a Native Barre Studios instructor for 5 years. In September 2019, I started a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course through the Nutritional Therapy Association. I have been continually amazed and excited as I learn about the human body and how we can use food to help heal ourselves from chronic conditions as well as aid with healthy aging. Each month, I will pick a topic and provide insight so we all can work towards optimal health.

Water can be considered the most important nutrient for our bodies. Conversely, water is often the most common nutritional deficiency we experience. Why is this nutrient so important and how do you ensure you are not only drinking water but actually absorbing it?

We can live for a WEEK without food but only DAYS without water. This is because our bodies are 55-60% water. Water is responsible for many important functions within our bodies including flushing out toxins, cushioning and lubricating joints, improves oxygen delivery to cells, transports nutrients throughout our body which in turn helps to remove waste, assists in our healing process when we are hurt or sick and helps maintain the electrical properties of our cells. Believe it or not, this is actually an abbreviated list but I think you get the point. Water is extremely important to our health and well-being.

Have you ever been so thirsty you chug a giant glass of water. You feel so much better, what a relief…wait nope, you are still really thirsty so you fill that glass up again and chug it right down, that’s better, except 20 minutes later you are still so thirsty. This the perfect example of drinking water but not absorbing it. Remember how I noted above that drinking water and staying hydrated helps maintain the electrical properties of our cells? It is sort of cool to think about…we are electrical beings, we are energy. Therefore we not only need to drink water, but we need to ABSORB it. How can we ensure we are absorbing water?

Water depends on electrolytes for proper absorption into our cells. When dissolved in water, electrolytes are actually minerals that are capable of conducting electricity. Electrolytes help maintain our pH balance, control the osmosis of water within our body and carry electrical currents.

So how do we maintain optimal hydration? Limit dehydrating beverages. This includes coffee, teas, packaged fruit juice, soda and alcohol. If this seems impossible, I get it! I do love coffee in the morning and some wine with dinner. Please do NOT reach for sugar, totally terrible for you packaged electrolyte beverages (trust me, I’ll discuss blood sugar regulation next month)! Instead get ready for this simple and mind blowing tip…to ensure you are getting enough electrolytes, do yourself a favor and add a PINCH of good sea salt to your water. Quality sea salt is filled with electrolytes. A pinch won’t be enough to make your water taste terrible BUT it will be enough to add some natural electrolytes to your body. Also, keep in mind this simple equation:

BODY WEIGHT = # of oz. of water you should drink EVERYDAY


For each 8 oz. of dehydrating beverage you drink, add an additional 12oz (8oz x 1.5) to that number.

So maybe now you are saying to yourself, I drink plenty of water, I am fine. Please note the common early signs of dehydration and then ask yourself if you still are drinking enough water. An abbreviated list of early signs include: headaches, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps and fatigue. More advanced signs of dehydration include constipation, joint pain, migraines and heartburn…again an abbreviated list. None of these make your feel good. Isn’t to just better to drink water and feel good everyday?

To sum up, to be properly hydrated, increase your water intake, add a pinch of quality sea salt to your water and avoid sugary drinks that are advertised as hydrating.

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