We all know we should stay hydrated but most of us find it hard.
Drinking fluids is critical to maintaining good health and maintaining the functioning of all systems in your body, including your heart, brain and muscles. Liquids transport nutrients into the cells, eliminate bacteria from the bladder and prevent constipation.
You can not survive without water. It makes up almost two-thirds of your body and is essential for proper function. Water has a variety of benefits for your body, from removing urine by-products to lubricating your joints. It can even make your skin look good.
Here I explain why you need to drink enough and give some tips to help you stay hydrated.
- Benefits of Staying Hydrated
- Stay Hydrated Meaning?
- Importance of Staying Hydrated
- How to Stay Hydrated Without Drinking Water
- How To Stay Hydrated In Hot Weather
- Fun Facts About Staying Hydrated
- How Much Water Should I Drink?
Benefits of Staying Hydrated
1. Water helps with cardiovascular health.
Dehydration reduces blood volume, so your heart needs to work harder to generate the reduced amount of blood and get enough oxygen for the cells, making daily activities such as climbing stairs and exercising difficult.
2. Water prevents dry mouth.
The water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from getting dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and / or unpleasant taste and even promote cavities.
3. Water helps your joints and muscles work better.
When well hydrated, the water in and out of the cells of the contracted muscles supplies the right nutrients and efficiently removes the waste, so you surrender better. Water is also important to lubricate the joints. Contrary to popular belief, muscle spasms are not related to dehydration but muscle fatigue.
4. Water is good for temperature control.
Your body releases heat by expanding the blood vessels near the surface of the skin (which causes your face to turn red during exercise), resulting in increased blood flow and more heat in the air. However, when dehydrated, a higher ambient temperature is needed to dilate the blood vessels to keep them hotter.
5. Water helps to cleanse and detox your body.
Your kidneys need water to filter the waste out of the blood and excrete it in the urine. Staying hydrated can also help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If you are severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working, causing toxins to accumulate in your body.
6. Water keeps your skin supple.
When a person is severely dehydrated, the skin is less elastic. This is different from dry skin, which is usually caused by soap, hot water and the action of dry air. But, unfortunately, drinking plenty of water does not prevent wrinkles.
Stay Hydrated Meaning?
It is really important to stay hydrated. Your body uses water to help with many processes, such as:
- Control your body temperature.
- Get rid of the products.
- Transporting nutrients and oxygen around your body.
- Keep your joints lubricated to work efficiently as a shock absorber.
- If you drink enough water, it also helps to keep your skin healthy.
Importance of Staying Hydrated
Some of the most obvious and well-known signs of dehydration are thirst, dry mouth, mild headache, and dark urine. The impact on the body of not drinking enough water, however, goes far beyond these telltale signs:
Energy Levels and Mood
Our brains are 85% water and studies have shown that even mild dehydration can have a significant impact on mood, energy levels and mental performance. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that mild dehydration caused mood swings, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty in concentrating. The effects were more pronounced in women than in men (ladies take note).
Water is important for allowing things to flow through the gastrointestinal tract. If we do not get enough fluid, the body will compensate for this by pulling the water out of the stool to maintain hydration, resulting in hard stools that are difficult to pass and cause constipation. We also need water to produce the digestive juices that degrade our food. Without these, a variety of digestive problems can result including gas, flatulence, discomfort and nausea.
Water is critical to the efficient functioning of all of our body systems, including our cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems. If we do not drink enough, the body will compensate for this by clinging to the fluids of their cells, which will cause swelling and discomfort associated with water retention. Paradoxically, drinking more water, not less, can eliminate fluid retention.
Less Resistance and Muscle Fatigue
Dehydration can negatively impact exercise performance, reducing resistance, increasing fatigue, and reducing motivation. Muscle pain, cramps and longer recovery times can also occur if too little water is consumed before, during and after training.
How to Stay Hydrated Without Drinking Water
Fruit Juice and Smoothies
Juices and fruit smoothies contain many vitamins. One glass (150 ml) can help you consume one of your five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But the downside is that they contain a lot of sugar and can be acidic, and both are bad for your teeth. For this reason, it is better to limit the amount of fruit juice you drink and consume it with a meal. One way to dilute all of this sugar is to mix the fruit with water or ice.
Coconut water is now a popular drink and another way to fill your hydration needs. Contains mineral potassium as well as sodium and natural sugars. It is sometimes used to replace lost fluids to treat dehydration. It has also been reported to contain antioxidants.
Smoothies and Juicing
We all love smoothies and juicing. It is a great alternative way to stay hydrated. Smoothies taste delicious, refreshing and also good for you especially if you do it yourself at home. But Be careful when buying them in a supermarket because you may be missing out on the fiber that makes it better for you. If you are making your own, here are some important tips for making smoothies.
- Use herbal infusions in your juices and smoothies to boost and enhance the taste (mint works very well).
- To reduce calories, use crushed ice to thicken your shake instead of using yogurt or milk.
- Watery vegetables for your green juices could include iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and celery.
- Fruits that are rich in water include grapes, watermelons, kiwis, and oranges, so they can be added well to your mix.
Water Rich Fruit and Vegetables
Did you know that some fruits and vegetables contain more than 90% of water? This means that you can get a lot of your daily hydration needs by eating certain water-rich foods. This is a good water to stay hydrated without drinking water.
List of fruits with high water content:
- Cucumber = 96% water
- Iceberg Lettuce = 96% water
- Green Peppers = 92% water
- Watermelon = 92% water
- Strawberries = 92% water
- Cantaloupe = 90% water
- Pineapple = 87% water
- Tomatoes = 95% water
Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee can also contribute to your fluid intake. Both contain caffeine, which is a mild diuretic, so they can increase the amount of urine you produce. But if you drink caffeinated beverages in moderation, you should not drink extra fluids to make up for it. Limit yourself to no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, that’s about four to 5 cups of coffee or 9 cups of tea a day.
If you are pregnant, drink less (2 cups of coffee or 4 cups of tea). Alternatively, try herbal teas or decaffeinated versions.
It’s also important to remember that carbonated drinks and energy drinks can contain a lot of caffeine. Check the label and keep track of your total so you do not exceed the recommended caffeine limit.
Milk is a good choice as it contains nutrients such as proteins, B vitamins and calcium and is a source of water. But be careful with the amount you consume as it may also contain saturated fats. Choose low fat or lean options. If cow’s milk does not suit you, soy, rice and almond milk are alternative options. Some are fortified with calcium to ensure that this important nutrient is not lost.
How To Stay Hydrated In Hot Weather
It is a challenge for many of us to keep well hydrated, especially in the summer months, when it is not very pleasant to drink a boring glass of water. Here are some of the best advice on how to improve your fluid intake and stay hydrated in hot weather:
- Always have a bottle of water where you are (for example, on the desk, next to you on the bed while you sit on the couch, in your bag). When it is in sight, you are more likely to take it more often.
- Summer is the perfect time to fill up with savory soups and stews. These are often full of water and are a wonderfully calming way to increase your fluid intake.
- Set alerts on your phone regularly to remind you to drink something. In fact, there is even an app for this purpose. Alternatively, leave notes on your computer screen to remind you to drink something.
- Eat your water with things like celery, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, watermelons, peppers and spinach are at least 90% water, so pack your diet with these juicy foods.
- Fresh lemons and ginger, strawberries and basil, as well as rosemary and grapefruit are just a few of the delicious combinations you can use to make your water taste better.
- Never ignore your thirst. If you are thirsty, you are probably slightly dehydrated and this could negatively affect the work of your body and mind.
- Change your tea or coffee for herbal tea. Peppermint, fennel and ginger are a great choice, but the most important thing is to choose a drink that you want to enjoy and drink more. Although coffee has a diuretic effect, the fluid losses are low, so it must be remembered that there is still a net gain in liquid in a cappuccino.
- If you are not a water fan, mix it with fresh fruits and herbs that can give flavor.
- Choose lukewarm water when it is too cold to drink from the faucet or fridge. Slices of fresh ginger are a nice addition and perfect for this.
Fun Facts About Staying Hydrated
- There is the same amount of water on earth as it was when the planet was formed. Believe it or not, the water you drink today can share the same molecules of the water that dinosaurs drank. (But do not think too much about it).
- About 80% of your brain tissue is water (about the same percentage of water found in a living tree.
- The average amount of water you need per day is about 3 liters (13 cups) for men and 2.2 liters (9 cups) for women. Note: this is the average, but you should do the calculation to see what is right for you.
- Drinking enough water every day can reduce heart disease and cancer. Water helps remove toxins from your body, and the fewer toxins that come in contact with your bowel, bladder and other organs, the less likely you are to develop critical conditions.
- If you are thirsty, your body has lost more than 1% of its total water, so do not be thirsty. Take a break now and drink a glass of water.
- Smile, because good hydration can help to reduce tooth decay. Did you know that water helps to produce saliva that keeps your mouth and teeth clean?
- Trying to lose weight? Drinking water can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism, helping you to burn calories faster.
- The average person could live without food for almost a month, but we could only survive for a week without water. Some of us can not spend a day without coffee, but that’s another story.
- Good hydration can prevent arthritis. With a lot of water in your body, there is less friction in the joints, therefore less risk of developing arthritis.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
First of all, remember that you can get water from other drinks like milk and fruit juice. Water in food also counts: fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water.
Cucumber and lettuce have the highest water content of food, a massive 96%. Tomatoes are also full of water: they have 95% water. Simply adding a little salad to a sandwich can increase your fluid balance.
The exact amount of fluid you need may depend on factors such as:
- The weather – you need to drink more when it’s hot and you sweat water out of your body.
- Your age – this affects the way your body can balance water and salts and as you get older, you store less water.
- Your gender – men need more water than women because women have a higher percentage of body fat.
- If you are pregnant, you will develop constipation more often during pregnancy, so you should drink more.
- Your diet – if you follow a special diet or a very low calorie diet, you may need to drink more (but seek advice from a dietician).
- The amount of physical activity you do, you need to drink more if you exercise more.