What do you do when your blood sugar runs high? Maybe you go for a walk or limit carbs at the next meal. But have you thought about drinking water? While sweet beverages contain sugar and can lead to spikes in blood sugar, water contains no calories, carbs, or sugar. But are there further benefits of drinking water for your blood sugar? Does drinking water lower blood sugar? Keep on reading to find out!
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The importance of water
You cannot survive without water. Water makes up about 60% of your body weight and is essential for health as it is needed for a multitude of processes throughout your body.
Some functions of water in the body include:
- Digestion and metabolism
- Transport of nutrients throughout the body
- Electrolyte balance
- Body temperature regulation
- Lubrication to protect joints, tissues, and organs
- Maintaining blood volume, blood pressure, and cardiovascular function
- Prevention of constipation
- Waste removal
But does drinking water help you control your blood sugar?
Water and blood sugar
Here’s some great news: drinking water can help you lower your blood sugar. In fact, being dehydrated can actually increase your blood sugar and can lead to hyperglycemia. One reason for this is because a huge component of your blood is water.
When you are adequately hydrated, your blood contains the appropriate amount of water. When you are dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, making your blood sugar more concentrated. Put more simply – with less water in your circulation, your blood sugar goes up.
Water and diabetes
One of the potential symptoms of diabetes is polyuria, where you have excessive urine production due to high blood glucose levels. Drinking water can help you to avoid dehydration, which can cause a further increase in blood sugar levels. In this way, water can help you to keep your blood sugar under control.
In addition, one way that water can indirectly help with blood sugar control is through reducing your intake of excess calories, which could come from sugars. Choosing water over sugary beverages ultimately reduces your sugar intake, which can help keep your blood sugar lower.
If you have diabetes and you’re consistently not drinking enough water, this is also likely impairing your blood sugar regulation. It is important to stay hydrated to avoid these negative metabolic effects.
How much water should you drink?
The recommendation you’ve probably heard before is to drink 8 glasses of water daily. Mayo Clinic recommends that women drink 11.5 cups of water daily and men drink 15.5 cups of water daily. So which advice should we be listening to?
The reality is that water needs vary based on the person. Many factors come into play when it comes to determining how much water you need. Your age, height, weight, activity levels, your environment, and any health conditions can impact how much water you need to stay healthy.
One simple way to check if you’re hydrated enough is to look at the color of your urine. Aim for a light, slightly yellow color. Any color darker than this means that you’re dehydrated and need to amp up your water intake.
Your urine should not be colorless. Completely clear urine implies that you are overhydrated.
This can be an issue long term because drinking too much water can lead to electrolyte imbalances that can cause serious health problems. This is extremely rare, but something you should be aware of. So just know that in the same way that drinking too little water causes health issues, drinking too much water can cause other issues.
If you want to ensure you’re getting enough on a daily basis, you can buy special water bottles with time stamps or use an app to track your intake. So shoot for around 8 glasses and see how you feel. You may need more or less depending on your personal needs.
Ways to enjoy water
The easiest way to enjoy water is to drink it straight from your tap. To be safe, you can check water quality in your area through a quick Google search.
If you’re concerned about what you find out about the water quality in your area, buying a filter for your faucet or a pitcher with a built-in filter will ensure you filter out any contaminants. You can even by self-cleaning water bottle now (this one with UV cleaning technology is my favorite).
If you find it difficult to drink enough water, you may want to try flavoring it. You can do this by chopping up a handful of fruits, veggies, and herbs and allowing their flavors to infuse into the water. Some water bottles even come with a infuser inside.
Some ideas for infused water combinations include:
- Cucumber and lime
- Strawberry and orange
- Watermelon and mint
- Peach and basil
- Carrot and ginger
- Grapefruit and tarragon
Come up with your own favorite combination, throw it in a bottle or pitcher full of water, and enjoy! You can do the same thing with seltzer water, which can also contribute to your daily fluid intake. Or even getter, you can make your own carbonate water at home and infuse it too!
The bottom line
Water is essential for health because it is involved in a multitude of functions throughout the body.
Drinking enough water can also help you keep your blood sugar levels in normal ranges.
To make sure you are staying hydrated, you can track how much water you’re drinking and compare it to the color of your urine.
You can choose to drink your water from the tap, filtered, or flavored in order to make sure you are drinking enough.