Why you may be more dehydrated than you think & quick tips to stay hydrated this summer!
The importance of hydration
Often, we forget about water and its importance to thriving day-to-day! It’s essential to remember that water is considered a crucial element for life and even small variations in body water can compromise health – especially energy!
We’re made up of 70% water, and even though it doesn’t provide energy (thus, calories), it is essential for different biochemical reactions and physiological processes in the body! To name a few functions:
- Optimal Brain functioning – feeling low in energy and can’t concentrate? It could be a sign of dehydration!
- Healthy Digestion – dehydration often is the underlying cause of constipation and causes symptoms in those with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Regulating Body temperature – Our body carefully manages an optimal body temperature of 37 degrees
- Providing minerals – Yes the clear liquid isn’t just H20 and provides a whole host of trace minerals for health
Therefore, to keep our body healthy we have to consume a certain amount of fluid daily. But what is our daily water requirement?
Your fluid requirements
On average, under ordinary circumstances, our daily water intake should be around 2 L for women and 2.5 L for men.
or at least 8 glasses of water (or other fluids). Our goal is to maintain a balance between the amount of water we drink and the amount of water we lose through urine and both sweating and breathing to avoid becoming dehydrated. If you are partaking in lots of physical activity you will be required to drink more!
Especially during summer, when we sweat more in the hot weather, it’s important to note we can lose more water than usual – even when we sleep so hydrating when you wake is always a great way to start the day!
A surprising list of hydrating foods:
- Fruits (melon, apples, berries, oranges, etc)
- Vegetables (cucumber, courgettes, carrots, beetroot, etc)
- Pasta/rice (absorb water when cooked)
- Natural fruit Ice lollies
- Greek Yogurt
How to detect dehydration
Thirst sensation is commonly used as a signal to start drinking and replenish the fluids that we might have lost. However, it is important to highlight the fact that thirst is triggered when we are already dehydrated. Therefore, we should start drinking before feeling thirsty and always have a glass of water in between/ before meals to ensure you don’t go without.
Dehydration occurs when there is a loss of body water equal to or greater than 1% of your body weight. Being able to establish whether you are dehydrated or not is crucial, as it could influence both your mental and physical performance and could have a severe effect on your general health.
Symptoms of dehydration
- thirst sensation
- the colour and odour of your urine: a strong smell and a dark yellow colour could be a sign of dehydration. However, be aware that certain foods and supplements can colour your urine
- Urinating less than 4 times a day
- feeling dizzy
- feeling tired and with no or little energy
- a dry mouth, lips, and eyes
7 steps to healthy hydration
- Set a fluid target for the day and always try to meet it!
- Use a clear water bottle to see how much water you are drinking throughout the day.
- Carry your water bottle with you everywhere, especially during summer.
- Drink water, as it hydrates without providing added sugar like fruit juices and soda. If you do not like drinking plain water, it could be a good idea to add fresh fruit to flavour (such as berries, citrus fruits, or cucumber).
- Limit alcoholic drinks as they have a diuretic effect, which causes more water loss through urine.
- Drink frequently with short sips and do not wait for the ‘thirst sensation’.
- Be sure to eat your daily portions of fruits and vegetables (at least 5 a day), as they are rich in water (up to 90/95% is water) and could provide around 30% of your daily water requirements.