Why is staying hydrated so important?
When I am wellness consulting, one of the first things I always ask is how much water are you drinking. The majority of the time their response is ‘not enough’. So most people already know that they need to drink more. But why do we need to? Proper hydration is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve wellbeing.
Proper hydration is vital for a well functioning body and mind. Water hydrates your cells, which will aid in circulation and absorption of nutrients around your body, aids in digestion, saliva production, lubricating joints, nourishes skin and the list goes on. As you can see it is vitally important to stay hydrated!
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Dehydration symptoms often occur after your body has already started to become dehydrated. Some signs of dehydration are: dry mouth and throat, headaches, brain fog, weakness, irritability, and one we all seem to know – yellow urine.
To prevent dehydration, make sure you are drinking water throughout the day. How will you remember to drink through out the day? You might like to have a glass at the beginning of each hour or perhaps a few times a day you have a large glass of water, you may even benefit from setting an alarm until it becomes habitual, whatever it is, make sure it is something you will remember.
Are you drinking enough water?
An easy way to calculate is 1litre for every 22kg of body weight. Remember fresh fruit and veg contain water too! So if you are eating lots of fresh fruit and veg, your water intake needs will be different.
Some foods with the highest water content are: watermelon, cucumber, spinach, lettuce, celery, apples, pineapple, strawberries, salads, soups. I could keep going with this list, just know that most fruits and vegetables have a high water content!
There are some circumstances in which you will need to drink more water, so be aware, as dehydration symptoms generally do not show up right away. If you are participating in exercise or vigorous activities, if you are unwell, have diarrhea or vomiting, pregnancy or breast-feeding, live in a hot or dry area, are eating processed foods, or drinking alcohol and sugary drinks are all factors to take into consideration.
A couple of visual signs to check you are hydrated are by the colour of your urine (check the chart to see where you are at). Keep in mind that some supplements and vitamins will change the colour of your urine for a few hours so the other easy way to check is by making sure you are urinating every 2-4 hours.
Okay so now you want to drink more water, right?
Some ways to make drinking water more enjoyable for those that do not like the plain taste are to:
- Have an awesome water bottle that you love drinking from!
- Drink a good quality water, and have sufficient supply on hand
- Drink herbal teas
- Add natural flavour (NOT artificial, processed & sugary crap)
Some ways to add flavour are to infuse with fruit. You can do this by boiling water and letting the cut fruit sit in the water until cool, or cool enough to drink if you want a warm beverage, or simply slice some fruit and place that in your glass or water bottle.
Another way is by using essential oils. Essential oils not only add flavour but they can also help enhance your general health and wellbeing. Below is a list of a few of my favorites that I like to use:
- Grapefruit – Supports healthy metabolism
- Lemon – Cleansing, aids in digestion
- Lime – Cleansing, supports healthy metabolism
- Peppermint – Refreshing, uplifting, promotes digestive health
- Smart and Sassy – Helps manage hunger cravings, promotes healthy metabolism
Sourcing good quality water is important. There are lots of options to choose from. Generally supermarkets have bottled water for sale, if you can buy the biggest as to save on plastic waste. There are usually delivery services around that you can purchase a few bottles at a time, and they are conveniently collected and replaced every week or fortnight. There are also systems that you can have installed into your plumbing, such as reverse osmosis. I’m not sure of how much leached chemical is really able to be removed so be aware of the area you live in and what the waterways are like. There are also ceramic or clay pots specifically designed to purify water.
There are some great stainless steel and glass water bottles on the market today. They do often cost more than plastic water bottles but are worth the investment for your health and also for the health of our environment. Remember if you are using essential oils in water, do not use plastic bottles! If you do use a plastic bottle, be sure it has a triangle on the base with a number 1 or 2 (PET1 or PET2) these are the ones thought to be safe, but I think try and ditch the plastic all together!
As you can see, proper hydration is vital for your body and mind to function well and for general wellbeing. Calculate how much you need to drink then keep tabs on how much you have drunk and how you are feeling, then you can adjust accordingly to your circumstances.
Take care for now and remember to stay hydrated!