Hydration & Hypertension
Water is the most important nutrient in the human body & makes up 55-60% of total body mass.
With water being the most important nutrient, it's amazing that it's also the most common nutrient deficiency in the American population.
The body can produce about 8% of water itself through natural metabolic processes but the other 92% must be provided for the body through the foods we eat and the beverages we drink.
The kidneys are a major part of hydration & hypertension and they function as a filtration system. Not only do they filter waste & toxins from the blood, they also filter water. The kidneys regulate blood pressure by adjusting blood flow in & out of the kidneys. They do this by regulating blood volume, or the amount of water that is in the blood.
The kidneys conserve (or hold onto) water if your urine becomes too concentrated (bright/deep yellow) and they eliminate water if your urine is diluted (clear/pale yellow). When the kidneys hold on to excess water, this increases the pressure of the blood against the blood vessels (aka, hypertension).
We need to body to get rid of excess water without dehydrating ourselves in order to do it. How do we do that? By drinking MORE water.
Pay attention to your urine. When your urine is deep yellow/gold, this is the body's way of communicating that it's dehydrated, which is why the kidneys begin to hold onto water, releasing it back into the bloodstream (in order to hydrate the body), rather than removing it via the urine.
When urine is pale yellow or clear, this is the body's way of communicating that it's hydrated & therefore doesn't need to continue to hold onto excess water anymore.
How to Increase Your Water Intake
A great rule of thumb to ensure proper hydration is to strive to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day. For example, if a person weighs 200 pounds, they want to strive for 100 ounces of water per day. Once you reach 1 gallon per day, that is a sufficient amount of water for the day. This will ensure that you are continuing to flush your body of toxins through out the day.
Proper hydration is important not only for the regulation of blood pressure, but also for digestion, hormones and detoxification. Here are some helpful tips you can use to help you increase your water intake:
1. Set a deadline for every 16 ounces
Set an alarm on your phone for every 2 hours. When that alarm goes off, drink 16 ounces of water. This will be a great way to remind you to get your water in even when you're on the go and busy throughout the day.
2. Get into herbal teas
Herbals tea is simply herbs steeped in water. If you find it difficult to drink plain water, this may work well for you. You can also try adding fresh fruit tow your water. This will brighten up the taste a bit and incorporate a more fruity, enjoyable flavor.
3. Eat water-rich foods
Foods like cucumber, melons, zucchini and citrus fruits are over 90% water! If water by the bottle isn't your thing, help yourself stay hydrated by prioritizing more fruit in your diet!
4. Buy yourself a nice water bottle
This sound so simple, but sometimes all it takes is a new jug to make you prioritize your water intake. As humans we are very visual creatures so having a bottle that looks nice and that you enjoy carrying can make all the difference.