Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways to stay healthy and maintain a proper body weight, but most of us are dehydrated without realising it.
Without sufficient water in your body, your cells get congested slowing your metabolism, your body cannot eliminate wastes / toxins as efficiently resulting in you feeling sluggish and fatigued. Drinking more water is one of the safest, healthiest ways to detox the body.
What’s more, when we are dehydrated our body often tries to send us a signal to get us to drink, which is actually interpreted as hunger, resulting in overeating and weight gain. When you drink more often, not only do you provide a detox boost to your body, but you will feel satiated, leading to weight loss from over-eating less often. So next time you feel the 3pm hunger arise, try a glass of water first, and then eat something if you are still feeling hunger pangs.
In a nutshell, staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy, feel energised all day and maintain a healthy weight.
I am sure most of you have heard that when you feel thirsty, your body is already insufficiently hydrated. While you can make a habit of drinking water first thing in the morning to help stay hydrated, as many ancient medicinal arts suggest, sipping water throughout the day is the best way to stay well hydrated.
I always use the following analogy with my clients when explaining the most efficient way to stay hydrated. Think of caring for a pot plant or garden bed. The plant obtains greater benefit from small, regular intakes of water into the pot, rather than a large glug of water every other week. What you notice if you fill the pot with a load of water in one go, is that most of it travels straight through the pot, resulting in a big mess of overflow! The plant roots aren’t able to absorb much before it is expelled from the pot. Whereas if you provide small, consistent watering of the plant you will see next to no overflow, meaning that the plant has been able to absorb all of the water you have provided.
The same goes with our body. If we take in a large amount of water in one go, most of it will travel straight through without us being able to absorb the benefits. Small, frequent sips throughout the day provides much greater absorption.
How do you know when you’re properly hydrated?
Begin by paying attention to feelings of thirst as well as your water intake throughout the day.
If you’re not sure, just look at your urine;
Rule of thumb: If it’s light and clear, you’re probably well hydrated; if it’s dark or concentrated, you’re most likely dehydrated. Drink up.
10 Top Benefits of Proper Hydration….
The following specific functions in the body require hydration. Drink more water to:
- Combat Fatigue– You can’t run on all four cylinders if you are dehydrated. Water is one of the most important sources of energy for your body. It helps cells complete important enzymatic activities which contribute to good sleep, restoration of bodily systems, and the production of ample energy to get you through your day.
- Reduce High Blood Pressure– When the body is fully hydrated, the blood is approximately 92% water. This helps to keep the blood moving freely through the veins and arteries, helping to prevent high blood pressure along with other cardiovascular ailments.
- Halt Allergies and Asthma– When the body is dehydrated, it creates more histamines – organic nitrous compounds which help to regulate our immune response. If we have too many histamines circulating, we will feel congested and have difficulty breathing, along with other allergic reactions caused by the body’s response to foreign bodies.
- Reduce Acne, Dermatitis, Psoriasis, and Premature Aging of the Skin– With proper hydration, the skin practically glows. Without it, our skin cannot properly rid itself of toxins and so it becomes irritated, inflamed, and congested, causing a host of unsavory results ranging from itching, blackheads, redness, acne, and general blotchiness.
- Stop High Cholesterol– When the body hasn’t had enough water, it will start to produce more cholesterol so that cells can still function properly.
- Eliminate Digestive Disorders – Water can help eliminate and reduce the incidence of ulcers, bloating, gas, gastritis, acid reflux, and IBS. You also will experience less frequent constipation since water helps matter move more quickly through the intestinal tract. A well-hydrated body simply purges toxins and metabolic wastes better.
- Flush Out Unwanted Bacteria from the Bladder and Kidneys– People who are well hydrated experience less frequent bladder or kidney infections since water helps to flush out any unwanted microbes that try to accumulate in these eliminative organs. These organs are especially sensitive to disease without proper hydration since they are responsible for eliminating stored toxins and bodily waste.
- Speed Up Joint and Cartilage Repair– Most of the padding in our cartilage is made up of water, so if we don’t drink enough of it, our bones will feel stiff and our joints will take a beating. Joint repair after workouts or injuries is also expedited by proper hydration.
- Stop Gaining Unwanted Weight – When our cells are depleted of water, they cannot create energy we need to function, and so they send a signal to the brain to ‘get more goods.’ This means you will eat more, and likely carry some extra unwanted pounds. To avoid this, simply stay hydrated and your cells will stay happy and not send ‘fat signals’ to the brain. Further, and more obviously, replacing other drinks with water will help naturally keep the weight off. Some water with lemon each morning can be especially beneficial.
- Slow the Aging Process –Finally, all of our organs require copious amounts of water to function properly. If we stay dehydrated for long stretches, every cell, organ, and system in the body has to work harder, which means we will age faster. Drinking enough water literally keeps you young feeling, looking, and acting – for longer.
Our top 10 tips for Staying Hydrated….
#1 Leave a glass of water in your bathroom overnight and drink it as soon as you rise in the morning.
#2 Have another glass of water whilst you are preparing breakfast or getting ready (we like to have a nice warm glass of water with lemon juice to really boost the morning detox).
That’s 500ml before you fully hit your morning stride….
#3 Purchase 2 large water bottles (at least 1 litre).
Leave one bottle in your car so you can sip on it on the way to/from work, school pick ups, running errands etc, and the other sits on your desk at work or wherever you spend most of your day. Your aim is to finish both bottles by the end of the day.
#4 Find a herbal tea you like and start sipping on that throughout the workday instead of sugary juice, soda or coffee. Experiment with different varieties. Our favourites are peppermint, rooiboos, dandelion root and raspberry leaf. Yum
#5 Try drinking water with a little lemon and sea salt after a workout instead of sports drinks that are full of refined sugar.
#6 Not a fan of plain water? Try adding some lemon, orange, fresh berries or cucumber wedges or even letting a jug of water infused with herbs like mint, basil, or sage in the refrigerator overnight. The result is delicious and healthy.
#7 Start eating more foods with high water content such as cucumber, celery, radishes, tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli and some fruits. Remember that these fruits and veggies are better consumed raw because they lose their water content when cooked or broiled.
#8 Drink coconut water – This popular drink has a high electrolyte content and potassium, which plays a crucial role in regulating body fluids. You can drink it straight or add it to a smoothie. You may want to pay attention to the sugar content and choose a variety without added sweeteners or preservatives.
#9 Avoid Dehydrating Foods / Drinks – such as coffee, alcohol, salty foods and sugary foods
#10 Listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty, or set even better, set up hydration alerts on your phone to remind you to drink throughout the day. There are heaps of apps you can also use to help you – just search for ‘hydration alert’ on your phone.