Water is vital for life.
Today most of us are desperately dehydrated, we are drinking all day and quenching our thirst, but what we are drinking is contributing to our dehydration. The average person has on a daily basis several cups of coffee or tea, perhaps a can or two of soft drink, a milk shake, a energy drink, and maybe, just maybe a glass or two of water. Other than the water all the other drinks listed above add to your body’s dehydration, not to mention all the other nasty ingredients contained in these drinks that rob you of your health. Your body is made up of at least 70% water and throughout the day you are continually losing water from your body which needs to be replaced. We lose water from our bodies in many ways from urine and faeces output, sweating and breathing as well as a multitude of metabolic processes. Water is so important for our body, not only does it give us healthy and glowing skin, it is vital for saliva and stomach secretions needed to digest your food, in blood it helps transport nutrients and oxygen to all your cells, in body fluids it helps to lubricate joints and cushions organs and tissues, it carries waste products out of the body in your urine. You also need water to burn calories/kilojoules; you need about 1 ml of water for every calorie you burn.
How to tell if you are not drinking enough water
• How often do you urinate throughout the day? You should be expelling a significant amount of urine at least 3 to 4 times per day.
• Colour of your urine, it should be a pale colour with only a mild odour, if your urine is dark yellow and has a strong odour, you are not drinking enough water. Remember vitamin B will make your urine dark in colour even if you are drinking enough water.
• If you push your finger down on your skin and it does not pop back up immediately and feels a bit mushy, then you are dehydrated.
• If you feel fatigued or your skin is flushed, your lips or mouth are dry, this is also a sign of dehydration.
The first sign of dehydration is thirst, however by the time we feel thirsty we are already moderately dehydrated and need to immediately replenish our body with water.
How to keep hydrated
• Drink up to 2 litres of water each day, that’s approximately 8 glasses, if this is a struggle for you replace some of your water drinks with herbal teas, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, or you can add some freshly squeezed lemon to your water.
• Eat foods with high water content this can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.
• Limit drinks with caffeine and alcohol, these drinks are both diuretics and contribute to dehydration.