No doubt the summer months have had you reaching for drink after drink and whilst those fruity long cool drinks are delicious and often cooling and refreshing, there really is only one drink that can deal totally with the effects of dehydration.
The word “dehydration” sounds drastic and we often relate it to people who are marooned or lost and have had none or very little to drink or eat for days. You might be surprised to learn though that if you suffer from fatigue, confusion, memory loss, dizziness, dry and wrinkled skin, brittle hair and nails, cold fingers and toes, constipation, eczema, headaches, urinary tract infections, and muscle pains, then you might not be drinking enough water. These, believe it or not, are all signs of dehydration.
Our bodies are made up of around 70% water, which is involved in every bodily function. If you lack water, then your body will try to get moisture from any liquid source in your system. It will automatically tap your blood, cell fluid, intra-cellular fluid, and even your stools and urine. When you’re literally draining yourself, you are immediately impacting your physical and mental health and at risk of speeding up the aging process.
With our children all heading back to school it should also be noted that statistics show that school children are certainly at risk of not drinking enough water. According to U.S. guidelines children aged one to three should drink 0.9 liters per day; four to eight-year-olds should drink 1.2 liters; nine to 13-year-old girls, 1.6 liters (boys,1.8 liters) and 14 to 18-year-old girls, 1.8 liters (boys 2.6 liters). Dehydration can have a huge effect on children’s mental performance and learning ability as well as their overall health and wellbeing. Children have a higher percentage of body water and lose water faster than adults, which means they need to drink proportionally more to replace it.
Here are some very good reasons to boost your water intake:
You’ll digest your food better.
If you’re spending a bit too much time and effort on the toilet, you could probably use a glass (or two!) of pure water. Water-depleted stools are hard to pass —and they can be there for days! As a result, your stomach feels bloated with the overgrowth of fermenting bacteria and yeast. Not fun!
You’ll stay sharp.
If you prefer being upbeat and focused, you need to drink water. If you’re feeling confused and forgetful, try drinking more water.
You’ll love what you see in the mirror.
If you struggle with a puffy face and sunken eyes with dark circles, you’re being warned that your kidneys are in distress. You are not drinking enough water.
The kidneys filter toxins, salts, and water from the bloodstream. If the body is dehydrated, then the kidneys can’t function properly. If the kidneys are overloaded, this will show in your face.
You’ll lower your body fat.
This will probably surprise you, but being dehydrated can make you gain weight! As I mentioned earlier, the body will use all other fluids available when it’s dehydrated. By pulling water out of the bloodstream, excess glucose will remain until it reaches the liver, where it’s supposed to be stored as glycogen for later use.
You’ll curb your appetite.
Do you constantly feel hungry? Do you have cravings for sugar and wheat? Drink a glass of water. Pure water acts as an appetite suppressant. When feeling hungry, I suggest you drink a big glass of water before you act upon that sensation. If you need some taste, you can add a bit of lemon juice, or a splash of açai or pomegranate juice (without any added sugar).
You’ll help your body do its job.
There’s a reason why they call water the source of life — our blood is 90% water. The bloodstream provides your cells and organs with oxygen and nutrients, and takes away any waste products.
Dehydration will cause the blood to become thicker, increasing the risk for clotting, and making it harder to pump it through the system. This can have a serious impact on blood pressure. Lack of water is also linked to headaches, pain and tension in muscles and joints. It even causes stomachaches and heartburn.
So how much water do you need?
In general, you need about 2 Liters (65oz) of pure water a day. For us living in Florida and particularly at this time of year, you might want to take at least half a liter more. If you are exercising daily then maybe add a further half a liter. Keeping a jug in the fridge with sliced lemon and cucumber and maybe a sprig or two of fresh mint will add a wonderfully refreshing and natural flavor to your water. Seeing that jug already prepared every time you open the fridge door is a great reminder and also gives you a more accurate amount of how much you are drinking. You will also need more water if you are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Plus, take into account the diuretic effects of coffee, tea, alcohol, and sodas, as well as salty foods. Don’t rely on your child to stop at the water fountain at school, provide then with at least two bottles a day, one they can sip during classes and another for lunch, also have a nice cool refreshing naturally flavored water in the car when you collect them from school and encourage them to drink it on the ride home.