It's a common myth that you only become de-hydrated when you feel thirsty. In fact, your thirst reaction is something your body triggers, to get you to drink when it's desperate for water.
Your body needs 2 litres (about 4 pints) of water each day to function as it should. You'll probably have noticed that if you haven't drunk enough water recently, that you are prone to headaches and irritability which many believe including me, is a direct result of de-hydration. Even though you might not feel that you need this much water, your internal organs, muscles and especially digestion tract need enough water to work as they should. A reduction in water makes many of our internal systems not work as effectively which can slow down your metabolic rate particularly with digestion food processing.
Some of the 2 litres of water we need a day, we automatically get from our food, but we also need to ensure this is topped up. This is particularly more relevant and important during the summer months. Keeping hydrated is a fundamental part of making sure the brain, muscle, joint, blood, stomach and bowels are all functioning efficiently. It is important not to forget that Tea, Coffee and Fizzy drinks act as a diuretic, which means that the kidneys discharge water from the body, acting to dehydrate the body even further.
It is also worth noting that during illness, the body also needs extra water to help its recovery. Many prescription drugs deplete the body of water, so it is important to ensure that you increase your water intake to help aid your recovery. Hydration is a vital issue for us all, especially as our bodies are made of 60% water - need I say more?
It would of course, be unrealistic to expect everyone to suddenly start drinking four pints of water every day; it's just inconvenient and impractical. However, by making little changes to your diet and drinking habits you can help to supplement your water intake without noticing it.
If you are worried you are not getting enough water, why not try my Top 5 Tips to keeping hydrated which I've outlined below.
Top 5 tips to keeping hydrated:
1. Aim to drink 1 extra glass of water a day - try to add it into your breakfast routine or as a mid morning break, as it also helps to keep the hunger pains at bay for longer.
2. Reduce caffeinated drinks for water - reduce cups of tea or coffee by 1 cup a day as they are diuretics that help your body dispose of water
3. Drink some Fruit Juice - if you find pure water difficult (as most people do), why not try drinking some Fruit Juice instead. Not only will it help you to replace lost water but you'll also have a Vitamin and nutrient increase because of the properties in the fruit.
4. Eat more fruit - try and use water rich fruits like Apples, Pears, Oranges, Melon (especially Watermelon) and Grapes.
5. Keep Drinking - you may not feel thirsty, but remember, unless you replace your vital fluids on a daily basis, you can very quickly start impacting your body's normal function.
I believe by adopting my Top 5 tips to keeping hydrated, you'll feel more invigorated and less tired throughout the summer months.
By Adrian Whitworth ITEC, HHHT
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