Updated: Dec 19, 2022
A lot of my clients (including myself sometimes!) have a tendency to forget to drink enough water when we're busy! When we realise we haven't had a sip of water for hours on end, we wonder why we feel sluggish, tired, headachy and well, a bit demotivated!
Read on to find out more about the importance of focussing on your hydration and some handy tips to improve your hydration status and therefore improve your health and of course energy and focus!
Did you know?
The body is made up of 60-70% water!
Water plays a key role in many different areas in the body, such as metabolism, cellular membrane function, digestion, regulating body temperature, joint lubrication, hormone and neurotransmitter production, supporting the liver in detoxification.
Apparently, it’s possible to live for 21 days without food, but after approximately 3 to 5 days without water, our organs begin to shut down. That really highlights the importance of hydration and why we need to prioritise it!
Are you Dehydrated?
Drinking less water than your body needs to function will affect the mineral and salt balance in your blood, which can have an impact on our vital bodily functions.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration can include:
Dark, strong smelling urine, urinating less than 4 times per day, constipation, cravings for sugar, feeling dizzy, headaches, tiredness/fatigue, thirst. Severe dehydration can lead to dry eyes, skin, confusion and irritability. Chronic dehydration can even increase the risk of developing kidney stones! (There might be other causes of these symptoms, so if you are concerned, always talk to your primary healthcare provider as a first port of call!).
A lot of my clients drink caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and tea, and although I believe they have a place in moderation as part of our day, it's important to find other ways to top up our hydration levels! Here are 8 ways that you can boost your hydration today! Let me know if you adopt any of these and if you notice a difference in how you feel?
It is good to aim to drink 8 to 10 glasses (2L) water per day (this can of course depend on things such as activity levels, age, or the temperature of your environment, so there is a chance that 2L isn't sufficient for your needs -try and listen to thirst cues or monitor your urine colour and see how you feel).
8 Hydration Hacks - It is possible to become more efficient at hydrating youself!
1) Get yourself a glass or paraben free plastic bottle to keep track of your water intake, or use an app or habit tracker. You want to avoid using disposable plastic bottles, not only because of the environment, but they can contain nasty chemicals that can leach into the water.
If your bottle doesn't have markers, you could try putting elastic bands on your bottle (enough bands to calculate refilling the bottle to make up 2L) and remove a band each time you finish a bottle. Your goal is to remove all bands by the end of each day!
2) Keep your water bottle or glass nearby or in your bag if you're out, so that you are reminded to sip throughout the day. You can even set some reminders in your phone to encourage you to take a sip if you haven't done so for a while!
3) Try and drink 1-2 glasses of water as soon as you wake up. Try and drink at least one hour before or after eating, not during a meal, because it can impact on digestion and reduce stomach acid. Also try not to drink too closely to bed time, in order to prevent those middle-of-the-night awakenings.
4) Find water a bit bland? Try jazzing it up with some cucumber or lemon slices and some mint sprigs. You can make up a jug of water if you're home the night before, so your water has time to infuse and taste extra refreshing the next day.
5) Try replacing some of your caffeinated drinks with herbal teas instead. Try out some different blends to see what you like, such as rooibos (red bush), fruit, peppermint or chamomile. There are lots of lovely herbal tea blends out there - I particularly like Bird and Blend Tea, which has a really nice selection to suit all kinds of tastes!
6) Use filtered water if possible - they are readily available these days, and can also help reduce the scale build-up in your kettle!
7) Try and pay attention to the colour of your urine, because it's a handy tool for you to monitor hydration through the day and if you might need to drink a bit more (depending on your needs).
8) Fruit and vegetables are also a good source of water -try and make sure to include a variety of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet to help you reach those hydration goals! Some of the most hydrating foods include cucumber, carrots, radishes, celery, watermelon, blackberries and spinach!
Nutritional Nugget: Adding a small pinch of sea salt to a glass of water is particularly hydrating and can help replace lost electrolytes (which are minerals that help regulate fluid balance in the body and can be lost via urine and sweat). If you've had a heavy workout or been outside in a hot environment, you could try the following recipe:
1 cup of coconut water, 1/3 teaspoon salt and 1/2 lemon squeezed, mixed together until the salt dissolves. (Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/homemade-electrolyte-drink-recipe).
If you’re currently experiencing some of the symptoms (tiredness, headaches, low energy) discussed in this article and increased hydration hasn't helped, or you want to learn how tailored changes to your nutrition and lifestyle might benefit you, please book yourself in for a FREE twenty minute call with me:
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Please note that Amy Cottrell Nutrition does not claim to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional conditions. These blog artlces are written for educational & informational purposes only and are not a subsitute for medical advice.
Do not stop or start taking medication or supplements without first talking to your primary health care provider.