Do you experience:
- Afternoon energy drop around 3-4pm
- Headaches or migraines
- Digestive issues
- Dull skin or spots
- Respiratory issues
- Frequent thirst or no thirst at all
- Reoccurring cystitis
- Frequent colds?
Human beings are on average 50 to 75% water - two thirds of the total body weight. All the systems of the body need water to function properly. People say, “I don't need water because I don't get thirsty.” That is because thirst can be slow to develop - often we don't feel thirst even when our bodies need fluid. In fact the thirst sensation is one of the last signals of dehydration. Did you know tea, coffee and alcohol are mild diuretics? Or that when we put something in water – squash for example, the body treats it like a food? Pure lemon juice added to water has a tonic effect on the internal organs and aids hydration, very useful in the morning.
Frequent colds - are a way of our body to rid itself of toxins. At the first sign of a sniffle increase your water intake and the severity of the cold will be lessened.
Tea, coffee & alcohol - Often a regular part of our modern lives. To improve our hydration levels we need to ensure we increase our water intake if we consume caffeinated drinks or alcohol, that is in addition to the 6-8 glasses a day recommended. The limited research available on the effects of caffeine’s diuretic effects show one cup does little to affect our urine output whereas two or more cups per day increases our output(₁).
The amount of caffeine consumed affects our sleep, no surprise there but did you know if you have around 3-4 cups a day or more, it is likely that you will not reach the deepest level of sleep, waking up not feeling refreshed as your body has not had a chance to properly repair during the night.(₂).
Can a hangover be prevented? The chances of getting a hangover can be reduced dramatically if you drink lots of water during the day, in between drinks and before you go to bed. A hangover is the shrinking of the membrane that surrounds the brain and attaches to the skull (the Dura) due to dehydration, this literally squeezes the brain causing a headache (₃). Keep hydrated and your headache may be kept at bay. Better still, drink less alcohol!
Improving sports performance
When you exercise do you experience:
- Reduced performance
- Feel tired quickly
- Low motivation
- Impaired co-ordination
- Fine motor skills
These symptoms are experienced even with mild dehydration. Fluid intake is often made up of caffeinated or sugary drinks which give a quick boost but the effects do not last and can put a strain on the heart and other organs. With the increase of participation in sports events such as marathons and long cycle rides we hear more and more of very fit individuals suddenly dying mid race of a heart attack, could proper hydration be a factor?
Mental Function - Mild dehydration can impair our mental performance too – mathematical ability, short-term memory and the brains visual perception, which could also be known as brain fog! Our moods are also affected with confusion and anger among consistent results in experiments. (⁴)
Weight loss - We often confuse thirst with hunger. Sometimes when you think your body is asking for food, what it really needs is water. This is why it's a good habit to drink water regularly - whether you feel thirsty or not.
A new study in the US has examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 adults and found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water by just one percent reduced their total daily calorie intake and also saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol intake. (⁵)
Water consumption tips - When we have a glass of water 20 minutes before eating, our stomach produces digestive juices ready for digestion. When we drink water with our food our digestive juices are diluted and digestion is impaired, decreasing absorption of nutrients.
People say, “If I drink more water I have to go to the toilet a lot.” In the first few weeks of increased water consumption this is true, when your body gets used to utilising the water this will settle down. Ensure you drink more in the day and less at night to minimise night-time visits to the bathroom.
Most of us did not grow up with parents or teachers who encouraged adequate water consumption so we often need to learn new habits such as taking a bottle of water out with us when we leave the house, always having a glass to hand, taking a glass to bed etc. A client of mine puts six pennies on her kitchen worktop and removes one whenever she has a glass of water. There are water drinking consumption apps that can help you keep count too.
There is still much more research that needs to be done on how water affects the body on a short and long term basis, the role of hydration in medical conditions and our overall health. But if it means my skin is smoother, my digestion works more efficiently, I am more alert and function as well as I can I will continue to work on my water consumption and recommend my clients do too.
Bowen Therapist & Natural Health Practitioner
Tel direct: 07930 882586