If you're like most people, "drink more water" has been at the top of your to-do list for months.
Staying properly hydrated can seem at times like a nearly magical cure-all. It'll clear your skin, keep you full for longer, help you shed pounds, and even boost your immune system.
However, as with most health-promoting practices, there's more to it than meets the eye. And as it turns out, the key to knowing how much water to drink may be located in the last place you'd think to look: the toilet bowl.
But that's just a drop in the bucket compared to all the other ailments and deficiencies your urine could tip you off about. An essential tool for diagnosing all manner of health issues since early medicine, your urine can speak volumes about how well you're actually doing...if you know what you're looking for.
Luckily, a convenient chart from the Cleveland Clinic demystifies the process of reading your urine for various signs of health. Read on to see how you and your urine stack up.
It is actually possible to drink too much water. If your urine is frequently completely clear and transparent, you may be overdoing it. Cut back slightly and see how things adjust.
If your urine is pale straw-yellow or transparent yellow:
Keep up the good work. Urine within this color spectrum indicates that your body is getting the hydration it needs and is 'normal'.
These darker shades can be an indication of moderate to significant dehydration. Flush out your system with plenty of water until your urine becomes lighter yellow.
If this happens frequently, try keeping reusable water bottles nearby to help make hydration an automatic part of your routine.
If your urine is a brownish or ale-colored:
This coloration can indicate a possible liver issue, such as liver disease. Drink some water to hydrate your body, but see your doctor right away if this color persists after adequate hydration.
Don't panic (yet)! If you've recently eaten brightly colored foods like rhubarb, blueberries or beets, this could be occurring naturally. If not, however, it's time to see a doctor.
Blood in your urine isn't something to be ignored either; it can be a sign of kidney disease, a urinary tract infection or something else. Make it a priority to make a doctor's appointment.
If your urine is orange, blue or green:
Chances are, these unusual colors are due to ingesting food dye or other artificial colorants, or as a result of a new medication. But if these strange hues persist, contact your doctor.
Orange urine can be a sign of a liver or bile duct condition, while blue or green urine may point to bacteria in the urinary tract. Best to get a second opinion of these colors crop up with any regularity.
Got you! Purple urine doesn't exist.
If your urine is foamy or fizzles:
A by-product of urine making its way through your body, foaming or fizzling is usually nothing to worry about. But if this occurs frequently, it may be a good idea to speak with a doctor. Continuous foamy or fizzling urine can indicate protein in the urine, which can be a sign of more serious issues.
Now that you know how to identify various signs of hydration and overall health, remember to take a peek next time you head to the restroom; your body may thank you.