Water’s importance to the body is usually underestimated, and it really shouldn’t be! The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%, a key component of the skin. As the largest organ, the skin contains approximately 64% water. Our skin has several different functions: to protect, regulate, feel and act as a barrier against external toxins, like pathogens and chemicals. It also regulates body temperature and helps us sense our surroundings. As the outermost barrier of our body, the skin regulates the body water content by controlling water loss from within the body to the outside via the skin’s topmost layer. Finally, it also blocks water permeation from the outside.
“Be water my friend.”
— Bruce Lee
If your skin feels dry, tight, itchy and flaky, then it probably lacks hydration! It may also look and feel rough and lack visible radiance. Dry skin will lose its soft, pliable characteristics and may crack, which could lead to the increased risk of infections. Dehydrated skin may also increase signs of aging, such as the appearance of visible wrinkles.
Here are four ways to keep your skin (and body!) hydrated, ensuring skin that’s hydrated, radiant and dewy:
1. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Since our body and every organ are at least 75% water, it’s a given that we require a hydrated medium for our bodies to function properly, and that means choosing to consume foods that help hydrate you and also drinking water. Different people require different amounts of water to stay hydrated.
Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. One way to tell if you are not drinking enough water is to check your urine. If your urine is usually colorless or light yellow, congratulations – you are well hydrated. If it’s a dark yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated, so drink up!
And if you’re looking for a beverage that has a bit more flavour than your regular H2O, try coconut. Aside from its myriad of uses and health benefits, coconut water (naturally occurring liquid from the inside of a coconut) stacks up against water as a better ‘hydrator’ as not only does it hydrate you, blood sugar levels are also restored faster as it contains natural sugar. It’s also lower in both calories and sodium, which makes it a great alternative for water.
2. Cut down (or stop completely) on foods that dehydrate you
Drinking enough water is the key to hydration. However, lack of water intake isn’t the only cause of dehydration. Some foods, when consumed excessively, can lead to dehydration as well.
Many of the foods we eat are processed and stripped of true nutrition. These are highly acidic to the body and create water retention to thin out the toxicity. As the body strives hard to flush out the waste, our body becomes dehydrated.
Beverages such as coffee (sorry coffee aficionados out there) and alcohol can also worsen dehydration as both are diuretic. These cause you to urinate more frequently than usual. This is why you usually feel dehydrated and experience headaches after a night of alcohol, as alcohol depletes your cells of water, which in turns causes these symptoms.
3. Eat your greens and fruits
Foods with a lack of nutrition and high acidity due to processing cause an imbalance in your pH level. To maintain a good pH balance in your body, start including in your diet fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes, as these alkaline forming foods not only provide your body with optimal nutrition but also ensures that your system is oxygenated and hydrated.
Another way to maintain your pH balance is to supplement with digestive enzymes, as our pancreas is largely responsible for the production of these enzymes so if your pancreas isn’t working properly, the supplement ensures that your natural enzyme level is where it needs to be.
4. Get a good night’s sleep
We’ve said it before in previous posts and we’ll say it again: sleep is important!
Research has suggested that people who sleep in are more creative, score higher on inductive reasoning tests, are less stressed and more productive. Sadly, many people (especially 9-5ers) get by on less.
Science says that we need eight hours of sleep to perform optimally daily. However, if you do your body good by getting enough sleep (7-8 hours minimum), you are actually allowing it to regenerate on a cellular level. As a result, it becomes less-stressed and more alkaline.
Don’t skimp on the zzz’s and ensure that you get adequate, quality sleep by developing a good bedtime routine. That means not using your electronics 2-3 hours before bedtime and letting go of the thoughts that may run rampant at night.
“Water is the driving force of all nature.”
— Leonardo da Vinci