Over 70% percent of our body is made of water and it makes sense to keep us functioning properly, we need to make sure that this level is maintained. Our skin is the largest organ of the body. To keep it supple, young and blemish free, staying hydrated is vital. Various molecules like glucose and oxygen are carried through the body via our blood system which again is made mostly of water. Water also lubricates our joints and eyes and helps keep our body temperature maintained in warmer months. When we are sweating during endurance training or enjoying hot weather it becomes even more important to stay hydrated.
Most of the waste products and toxins in our body are eliminated in stool and urine, a process which needs water to flush out what is not required by the body. And not to forget that drinking water can help curb cravings, increase satiety and help us maintain healthy weight.
There are several options of drinks these days however it is best to stick with water. Coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages all have a dehydrating effect as they act as diuretics. Often fizzy drinks and juices are loaded with not only sugar but various harmful chemicals as well as sweeteners.
So how do you know if you are drinking enough?
Low levels of fluid in the body can result in tiredness, dizziness, headaches, lack of concentration along with dry mouth. Other things you may notice is your urine is darker than usual. Constipation is also more common when we are not drinking enough. Skin dryness can sometimes be a reflection of poor hydration as well.
How much should you be drinking?
Aiming for 1.5 to 2 litres is a good start. If you are anyone like me this can be a challenge! I used to not be able to achieve this target, in fact was far from it as I do not like the taste of water. So I would advise for you to aim for 6-8 glasses a day, which can be an aid to guide you. A typical glass is around 250mls.
Some of my tips to help you include water into your routine.
- Have a dedicated water bottle or glass which is available at all times. If you have water in front of you most of the time, you are more likely to drink it. I find little changes like how easily the lid of the bottle opens or is it at arm’s reach, can make a huge difference.
- Experiment with the options –would you prefer warm water to cold? What flavour would you want? Would adding some mint leaves or cinnamon be more inviting? One of my favourite gifts this Christmas was a variety of organic herbal teas. I love exploring new flavours and so far my most go to are green tea with lemon and mixed berries.
- Carrying a water bottle when you are out an about goes without saying. Try and avoid plastic bottles as they not only contain chemicals which harm your body but are harmful to the one and only planet we have.
- Tie drinking water to a habit you already have or as part of a fixed routine of your day. For example, when I am working, I make sure I have water or herbal tea in front of me. When I go for a loo break, it is a reminder for me to refill my water bottle. I have a sip of water before calling my patients in.
- Make sure you drink most of the water before 5pm as you do not want to be waking up every hour, which can disrupt sleep and leave you tired for the next day.
- Some people like tracking and if you are a beginner – this may kick start a healthy routine.
- Have an accountability buddy who you can team up with? It helps to be connected with someone who is trying to achieve the same goal.
- Try eating the water! Yes, it does sound odd doesn’t it. Certain citrus fruits, watermelon, cucumber, celery and lettuce are rich is water content. I find my smoothies and soups to be good sources of water as well.
Have a good week ahead and stay hydrated.