Hydration is one of those things that gets bypassed, forgotten about and deemed unnecessary. How many of us don’t think about drinking water until we have dry mouths, feel a little light-headed or have a pounding headache?
The problem is…when we experience these symptoms we are already dehydrated. We are in a state where our body has lost more water than it is taking in. To understand the effects of this, we need to comprehend why we need water, and let me assure you it’s not just to quench your thirst!
Let’s imagine water in our body is like oil in a car – it helps everything to work properly.
Firstly it aids in digestion: ensuring the correct metabolism for each nutrient, carrying nutrients in the blood, aiding in kidney function and removing waste products. These alone are enough for us to see that drinking and keeping hydrated is important for many organs and the general working of our bodies.
There are many other functions of water in our bodies which include; lubricating joints and muscles, building and repair, regulation of temperature and providing a sufficient environment for chemical reactions within the body.
Although some foods include water, it is not enough to keep us hydrated so we need to be actively drinking throughout the day.
There have been many debates over whether all non-alcoholic drinks contribute to your daily water intake but I can safely say all drinks count! Some are healthier options than others, which we will look at in another blog but all tea, coffee, squash and soft drinks help us to reach our daily requirements.
So how can we ensure that we stay hydrated?
We need to be drinking little and often throughout the day – carrying a water bottle with you will work as a reminder to keep drinking. At the beginning aim to drink the full bottle once and then continue to drink more and refill! Water on its own can be ‘quite boring’ – add some lime, lemon, cucumber, any fruit you want, to give it a little extra taste and more appealing to finish.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty to have a drink – by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated – keep sipping on water throughout the day to avoid this. You will also be able to tell your hydration level by the colour of your urine – keep an eye on that throughout the day and drink accordingly.
Some people find it hard to drink enough – if you are a tea and coffee fan, then aim to drink a cup of water while you are waiting on the kettle to boil. Drink a glass of water before you eat a meal. Drink when you get up in the morning. There are many ways to ensure you drink enough, be creative and keep hydrated!