Water, Water, Everywhere, But Do We Get Enough To Drink?!

Water may be everywhere particularly at this time of year – but are you getting enough inside you??
It seems so simple – you have a thirst centre in your brain – when you need to drink, it lets you know, so you can’t possibly suffer from dehydration?

What are the signs of dehydration?

1. Feeling thirsty
2. Headache
3. High or low blood pressure
4. Constipation
5. Halitosis
6. Dry skin
7. Dark urine
8. Fatigue
9. Muscle cramps during exercise

What if I am just not THIRSTY?

It is better to ignore whether you feel thirsty or not but drink regularly throughout the day. That way we can’t become dehydrated in the first place.
Drinking should not be about quenching thirst but about keeping our body functioning optimally.
Just like food – we should be eating the nutrients we need to keep our body functioning optimally too – not foods that we ‘love to eat’ but ignoring the nutritional value of them over the taste we crave. That is a bit like putting water into your car rather than petrol because you are trying to save money. But whereas your car will just stop if you do that, your body keeps going but gradually less and less efficiently the less we care about what we put into it.

When should we drink?

We should drink throughout the day and not when we are thirsty – that is too late, our body has already become dehydrated if we wait until then. Water transports the vitamins and minerals around the body to where they are required.

If we consider that the optimal amount to drink every day is 1.6 litres or 8 glasses of water then the best way to achieve this is to measure it out and make sure that every couple of hours you drink at least one glass or the equivalent. That way by the middle of the day you can see if you have half the water left and can judge how you are actually doing – it is easy to forget when you are busy! The older we get the less efficient is our feeling of thirst and children get busy and don’t even think about it!
I’ve heard that it is bad for digestion to drink too much with food?
It is actually good for us to drink while we eat. Digestion is a long process and while the stomach is digesting the food, any water we drink can easily by pass the stomach contents on to the rest of the intestine where it is absorbed into the blood stream.
It is good to drink while we exercise – just not too much in one go.

Does it HAVE to be water?

No! Herbal tea, vegetable or meat stocks made into drinks do but milk and fruit juices do not.
Give it a go and see how you feel. Fill a container with water and make sure you drink it all throughout the day or fill several containers and so you can take them with you to work – it is a bit of a chore that will soon become a habit and you stand to feel and look so much better for it – and it has cost you nothing!