How to Increase Water Absorption

Posted February 5, 2010 in Diet, Healthy Lifestyle 5 Comments »
Woman Drinking Water
Woman Drinking Water

I am always recommending athletes to drink a gallon of water a day. That is all fine and well, but apparently there is a better way to calculate your hydration needs.

Based on a post over at, we should be drinking half of our body weight in pounds, in ounces of water each day. That means if you weigh 150 lbs you should be drinking 75 oz of water each day.

Use this chart to make your conversions from liters to ounces.

For those who use the Metric system, divide your weight in kilograms by 30. For example, somebody who weighs 70 kg is going to need 2.3 liters per day.

You can drink all the water you want, but if your body can’t use it you will still be dehydrated. Here are some tips to help increase body’s ability to absorb water.

Tips for Helping Your Body Absorb Water

  • Eliminate sodium from your diet. Eat low sodium foods and avoid adding salt to anything.
  • Increase your intake of vegetables, nuts and seeds. Focus mostly on dark leafy greens to increase the potassium and fiber in your diet. Good choices include:
    • spinach
    • swiss chard
    • romaine lettuce
    • green leaf lettuce
    • collards
    • mustard greens
  • Eat Chia Seeds – In addition to being a fantastic source of fiber and Omega 3’s, Chia seeds absorb 12 times their weight in water, and they carry the water to the colon where it can be absorbed into your system at a slower, steady rate. Instead of drinking water and hoping some of it is absorbed, eating your water can be a way to slow the process down and allow it a timed release.
  • Supplement with Glutamine – Aside from being one of the most beneficial supplements for resistance training, Glutamine is one of the amino acids that controls the volume of water in the cells and osmotic pressure in other tissues. It is used by every cell of the body for energy, immune system function and to help control cravings.
  • Avoid caffeine – I know, it is a sad statement, but the reality is that caffeine makes you pee. Minimize your consumption of high caffeine beverages such as coffee, tea, and caffeine-fortified energy drinks if you care more about water absorption than anything else. Coffee and tea do have some positive effects on health though, and I know I will continue to drink my cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Avoid alcohol – Alcohol also makes you pee. Everything about alcohol is bad, unless you are talking about red wine, which is still not good for you at high levels. Alcohol will dehydrate you by sucking the water out of every cell in your body. Don’t drink more than 1 glass of wine a night.
  • Keep your body cool. The more you sweat, the more water you lose, and the more you have to drink to replenish it. When you are working out you should have a constant supply of fresh water, and when you are not working out you should try to keep your body calm and cool to retain as much water as possible.
  • Eat more fruit. Fruits like watermelon contain high levels of water. Eat more fruit and you won’t have to drink as much water. Tomatoes and cranberry juice are also great choices.
  • Flavor your water. This is just to help you drink more. Use lemon, lime, or Crystal Lite to make your water more palatable.

Regarding water temperature: room temperature water is more easily absorbed, but cold water tastes better and burns more calories because your body has to warm it up before it can be absorbed. You can choose which route you want to take with this one.

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5 Responses to “How to Increase Water Absorption”

  1. Hey – I frequently check your website for workout tips/advice, great articles. I saw your note on avoiding caffeine for the diuretic effect, however I recently heard a counterpoint stating that the water intake from drinking a cup of coffee is less than or equal to the water you lose through urination; so you sort of strike a balance. Also, you think glutamine supplementation is pretty vital? Any thoughts?

    • Glutamine supplementation is great, not vital, but glutamine is naturally very important for workout recovery. Coffee is still a diuretic and I think other factors come into play when it comes to losing water through urination.

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  3. Yes! Chia seeds. I recently bought some and am eating them with lots of foods because they were talked about in Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Have you read that book Steve?

    • Benji: I have not read that book. If it is about running, I will probably not read it. On the other hand if it is about sprinting, then I may eventually read it. =)

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