Have we forgotten the importance of hydration in our search for optimal health?
Hydration may seem the most basic of all health tips, but many of us are chronically dehydrated and it's affecting our health.
I'm afraid I'm guilty of not putting hydration at the top of my health goals!
I forget to drink enough water. A lot! But I am realising as I get older how much this affects me. And I see it in our clients too.
It's too obvious, right? We all know we should drink more water. But are we actually DOING IT?
I recently read an interesting book called ‘Your Body’s Many Cries For Water’ by Dr Batmanghelidj, and it really opened my eyes to the effects of dehydration that we’re potentially not aware of.
His theory is that the body manifests dehydration in the form of signs and symptoms indicating a water shortage and he believes this is at the root of most chronic health problems.
The health benefits of water
Every cell in your body needs water to survive and do the following for you;
- detoxify waste and toxins
- support brain function and mood
- help your heart pump oxygen around the body
- help your kidneys function properly
- support your digestive system and regular bowel movements
- lubricate skin, joints and internal vessels (including your vagina!)
- allow cells to repair
- help blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients around the body
- help curb cravings and hunger
Signs you're not fully hydrated
You'll notice that a lot of these symptoms can be common during menopause so make sure it's not just dehydration! These are some common signs to look out for;
- dry mouth, dry eyes, dry skin
- infrequent urination
- heart palpitations
- brain fog and memory loss
- mood swings, anxiety, depression
- muscle cramps
- shortness of breath
Then there are some diseases too that Dr Batmanghelidj thinks can be avoided through proper hydration, including allergies, hypertension, diabetes and immune conditions.
What’s the colour of your urine?
You’ll notice first thing in the morning, your urine is normally orange and then as you go through the day it should get lighter and lighter. You should be aiming for yellow pale straw like colour for full hydration.
How much should you be drinking?
Don’t wait til you get thirsty! We lose our thirst perception from the age of 20 onwards, and by 70 we can lose It altogether and not realise we need to drink.
You wouldn't wait until it's completely empty to fill up your car with petrol !
2L is the minimum we need for optimum hydration and to replace water we lose in breathing, sweating and producing urine. You need more if it’s hot, you’re sweating or exercising or if you’re having hot flushes.
Tips for hydration
Here are some handy tips to make sure you’re drinking enough water;
- Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning to rehydrate you after your sleep
- Fill a 2L bottle of water up in the morning and make sure you drink it all by bedtime
- Drink before, during and after a workout
- Get an App or set up some notifications to remind you to drink every hour
- Try adding electrolytes (or salt) to your water for a quick hydration fix
- Add flavour if it helps you drink more -eg slices of cucumber, mint leaves, berries (be careful of lemon/lime as this can damage your teeth enamel)
- Limit alcohol (and if you are drinking, match each drink with a glass of water and then more before bed)
- Limit caffeine – it’s a diuretic, which is dehydrating
- Eat plenty of fruit & veg – these add to your water intake
- When you feel hungry and want a snack, often it’s actually that the body is THIRSTY and a large glass of water will do the job (and help you manage your weight too!). One study found that drinking 1.5 liters of water a day for 8 weeks caused a reduction in appetite and weight, and also led to greater fat loss.
With all our medical advances, sometimes in the basic things that we need to remember!
Don't forget to contact us if you need any help with your hormones or other health issues.