Water is fundamental to all life!
Our bodies are 50-65% water if we are adults.....closer to 75% if we are babies! Every cell in our body requires it and even slight dehydration can cause fatigue, poor concentration or "brain fog", and moodiness.
On the job this can mean decreased productivity and increased risk of accidents!
Dehydration, in the long term, means compromised health and well-being.
Most of us are slightly dehydrated - it is a symptom of the fast paced world we live in:
"I'll just wait until we have finished this or that!" "Bother, forgot my drink bottle!" "Yuk - I hate water!" Oops! and before we know it, several hours have passed and not one glass of water! Maybe we have a coffee or two - maybe a tea. A look back at the day, and often that is all we have had! Does this sound like you? Well then take up this challenge:
aim for 8 glasses per day and then notice how different you feel:
One glass on waking, at least 15 minutes before breakfast (after all you have not had a drink in at least 8 hours).
One more glass before morning tea
Two more glasses before lunch
Two more glasses before afternoon tea
Two more glasses before dinner
... and that's it! This should give you between 1.5 and 2 litres of water over the course of the day - depending on the size of the glass you use. Don't count tea, coffee and soft drinks - these are over and above your 8 glasses of water. Don't drink more water after dinner (unless you have to of course) because you should be adequately hydrated and drinking more will increase the risk of your needing to trot to the toilet during the night - disturbing your sleep. Be aware that in very hot or dry environments, or after exercise, you may need to drink more - if you are thirsty, then you need to drink....listen to your body.
If you are very petit - you may have to scale it back a little. The elderly often find it difficult to drink larger amounts of fluid - perhaps due to compromised kidney function, or bladder problems...drinking small amounts more often can sometimes fix that problem.
Not drinking enough:
increases your risk of urinary tract infections and kidney problems.
Drinking too much fluid:
can cause problems with kidney function, electrolyte and water balance
Word from the Wise:
There are people that will say, "drink when you are thirsty, and you will be fine" - this is not necessarily good advice - by the time you notice you are thirsty, you are already a little dehydrated. Better advice is to maintain your hydration.
Tips for good, healthy hydration:
Along with drinking enough water, consider these as well:
Add a squeeze of lemon to your water - this is an excellent way to re-hydrate when you are on the run. A drop of pure lemon oil (make sure it is real) is just as good if lemons are hard to find. Your liver will love you for it too, and it is helpful in maintaining a healthy blood pH. Word of warning though, don't eat the lemon straight! - it is not good for your teeth...even after drinking it in your water, wait a bit before you eat so that the protective bio-film is replaced on your teeth (15-20 mins should do it). Lemon in your water is good for bladder care too - especially if you are prone to urinary tract infections - but, once again, don't go crazy....too much and you could form kidney stones. No more than one lemon per day is generally safe ... and I believe in not over exposing your body to anything - have some days with none. Remember your Gran's advice "everything in moderation".
Cut back on the caffeine! - there is good evidence that a moderate amount of coffee is good for you.. but more than a couple of cups per day and that benefit disappears, again with the moderation - caffeine is a diuretic, that means it encourages fluid loss, so it doesn't really count for your fluid intake. You can learn more about the pro's and con's of coffee. Not all caffeine is equal and the caffeine in black and especially green tea has a milder effect generally- still, don't go crazy. Many herb teas, though, are great with other benefits..so try and mix it up.
Sugary Drinks are not a good substitute for water: there really is no room for sugary (or processed energy drinks/soda) in your well-being plan at all. They pack a huge amount of empty calories, are acidic and will make you feel more thirsty as your poor body processes it. If you are into losing calcium and rotting your teeth then go ahead - we will talk about this again on other pages.
Coconut Water is Great for Hydration: pure coconut water is amazing for rehydration and will give you a nice dose of magnesium and potassium. A great recovery drink after excersize to replace electrolytes, and great in smoothies as well.