Updated: May 20, 2019
We often associate staying hydrated with warmer temperatures but did you know that on average 60% of the weight on the human body is comprised entirely of water?
I know pretty amazing huh? So why are we not drinking enough?
A British survey run by Royal National Lifeboat Institution shows that 89% of the population is not drinking enough water to maintain healthy hydration.
As a kid I didn't drink nearly as much water as I should which led to weekly headaches, numerous hospital appointments and extremely prone to sunstroke. Looking back, I was probably on 1-2 glasses of water a day throughout my childhood. In my late teens/early 20's working 12-15 hour days, often I would find myself not using the toilet until returning home. Yikes!
If you think it's hard to increase your daily intake, I get it, believe me I was there first hand but after I started increasing my water intake guess what? No more headaches, no more sunstroke, clearer skin and improved digestion. I also noticed since increasing my 1-2 glasses to 6-8 of water per day I now actually crave water when I am without it. Before I could go days without craving water, I was still drinking don't get me wrong but in the form of tea, coffee, fizz and the occasional squash. If your'e part of the 89% population who could benefit from increasing their water intake grab a large bottle keep it close and set yourself a new challenge. Your body will thank you for it.
Low amounts of water can contribute to
2. Fatigue 3. Skin breakouts 4. Low immune 5. Allergies 6. High blood pressure 7. High cholesterol 8. Kidney/Bladder infections
Ways to stay hydrated this winter.
1) Drink Water.
Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. You may not feel as thirsty throughout the winter months but staying hydrated is a must for optimal health. Did you also know that water supports the thyroid function? aka the bodies thermostat and metabolism station. Increased water intake may help you stay warm this winter while supporting weight loss.
2) Avoid Sugary Drinks
If you are drinking fizzy pop because you are thirsty then your intuition may be a little out of sync. Your body is more likely to crave pop when you're low on energy rather than when you're thirsty. That misleading advertisement 'Clench Your Thirst' used by so many sugary drink companies are confusing low energy levels with thirst. When in fact sugar makes you more thirsty. Yet another example of marketing propaganda but I'll save that for another blog. When you increase your intake of sugar the body will try it's best to use it (energy) store it (fat) or release it (eliminate). Frequent urination is a common symptom for boarder line or type 2 diabetes. The kidneys start to produce more urine to flush out that unused sugar. But you don't have to be diagnosed with type 2 to first see these symptoms. I remember it well from my childhood of sugar binging after school. As well as my grandmother who was highly addicted to sugar getting up 1-3 times a night for toilet breaks. This increased fluid loss could also lead to dehydration.
3) Increase Your Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of water and some more than others. This is the time of year that we crave warming meals such as roasts, soups and stews etc. Well, I know I sure do. Root vegetables are a must on any shopping list throughout the winter months. We all know to aim for our 5 a day, however, The Telegraph states that “10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day” is best. Remembering that fruits can have a cooling effect on the body. This is why we naturally crave more of these foods come spring/summer time. Aim for less tropical fruits throughout the winter months and try to eat as seasonally as you can.
What about Tea and coffee? that counts as water right?
A cup of brew, milk and sugar or a coffee, cream and sugar does sadly not count as a glass of water although, some may argue. Even if you're drinking it black without sugar. Caffeine is a diuretic causing increased passing of urine. Herbal tea is different, if water is still a struggle aim to get a flask and keep topping up throughout your day. THIS IS NOT A DIG AT YOUR COFFEE INTAKE but if you train yourself to have a glass of water along side every other beverage you can't lose. Tips
1. Sip water every 30 minutes or half a glass every 60-90 minutes.
2. Keep a large bottle of water by your desk or at home and try to finish by the end of the day.
3. Keep a note or set reminders in your phone.
THE PEE TEST When you next go for a wee keep note of the colour of your urine. This is a great way to see how much water you have been drinking throughout your day. We are avoiding the darker yellow and aiming for pale yellow or clear. The body has many ways of warning signs but it is up to you to learn how to read them. Ever had a few alcoholic beverages the night before the first pee of the day? enough said. The main aim is to flush out your system every few hours. You do not want to be at work all day and realize that you haven't peed in 9+ hours “not cool” Be less like young Simone.