We all know the basics of hydration (aka drinking plenty of water) but how can you tell that you’re getting enough of the wet stuff? Take a look at these three tips – they guarantee you’ll be full of energy and totally refreshed during the long hot days of Summer.
The idea of staying refreshed is a hot topic in the Summer months.
Does refreshment make you think of keeping your cool, or quenching your thirst? In that case hydration is key, especially as the negative consequences of dehydration – fatigue, headaches, dry skin, dry mouth, bloating and constipation – would all put a major cramp on your Summer style.
But what about other ideas of refreshment – like when you refresh a web page? Here you are resetting or renewing your data, no doubt in the hope of speeding up the process of reaching your internet nirvana.
So what happens when you smash together these two themes of hydration and renewal?
The following post of course!
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Tip 1. Ask yourself – how much is enough?
How much water do you actually drink?
Who hasn’t heard that humans are 70% water? That we can survive without food for up to 60 days, but deprived of water we’ll be shrivelled husks in a mere 3 – 6 days? It’s obvious that fluids in general, and water in particular, are absolute essentials for life and health.
This subject reminds me of a client who complained of being very constipated, always feeling tired and struggling to lose weight, despite ‘eating a healthy diet’. When I asked how much water she drank, she proudly said at least a bottle a day, then proceeded to hold up a tiny, 500ml bottle of water.
This is nowhere near enough, unless you’re a camel.
How much water do you really need?
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, women need around 1.6l of fluid a day (8 glasses) and men 2l (10 glasses).
But I know our fluid needs are dynamic, since we should allow for variables like exercise, sweating, climate, and eating dried, salty or fibrous foods.
One alternative is to base your intake on body weight. At roughly 14 – 28ml/lb of body weight, this means the average 11stone (154lb or 70kg) woman would be drinking between 2 – 4 litres each day. At 13stone (182lb or 83kg) the average man between 2.5 – 5 litres.
Perhaps you’re like many of my clients who are not thrilled by the idea of mental maths, or monitoring the types of foods they’re eating.
What else could you do?
A simpler solution
Why not check in with your body? It’s actually not that complicated. Here are 3 clear signals that it’s time to drink more water.
- Are you feeling thirsty?
- Is your urine dark yellow in colour?
- Is it some time since you last used the loo?
Tip 2. Have a drinking-water routine
Now comes the really important part, as it’s time to consider your ‘water-drinking-routine’. Maybe you’re of the ‘down in one’ mindset, rather than the more advisable ‘little and often’?
Some of my clients roll their eyes when I suggest they set several daily ‘water alarms’. But when they get down to it, they realise that they spend a lot of time thinking “I must drink some water”, more time remembering “God, I still haven’t drunk any water”, and no time thinking “that glass of water totally hit the spot”. With a gentle reminder, they’re more likely to realise they’re thirsty and just get up and have a drink.
Tip 3. Make those slurps as tasty as possible
But what if you don’t like the taste of water, and really struggle to take more than a few sips?
The best thing would be to opt for drinks that you actually want to, well, drink.
Add some slices of cucumber, or a big squeeze of fresh lime or lemon to your glass. Drink chilled herbal teas (obviously without any sugar added). Check out the fruity or nutty alternatives and have the occasional glass of those. Why not try coconut water, watermelon juice, or cactus juice water? The list is long, and very tasty.
Tip 4. Don’t stop there!
After the ‘how’ and the ‘what’, I’d like to leave you with a final thought on the ‘why’.
For some reason water is often thought of as separate to our dietary intake. Whether it’s in a glass or in our food, it’s not considered a real nutrient.
Just imagine if we first inhaled, then exhaled, before deciding not to inhale again. Pretty soon we’d be starved of oxygen, the vital nutrient that’s in the air we breathe.
It’s the same deal with water.
We constantly lose it in our sweat, breath, urine and stools. It’s a vital nutrient which helps maintain the balance of our body fluids, energizes our muscles, plumps out our cells, and transports waste material out via our kidneys. These are all pretty important don’t you think?
So, next time you’re feeling headachey, lethargic, constipated or just plain thirsty, think about whether you’ve spent the whole day ‘waiting to inhale’.
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Like to skim? Only got a minute?
Here’s a satisfying sip of all we’ve covered:
- You are a human, not a camel – 500ml of water a day is nowhere near enough
- You can base your fluid intake on bodyweight – the average person should drink between 14-28ml of water for each pound (lb) they weigh. That’s 2 – 4 litres each day for the average 11stone woman; 2.5 – 5 litres for the average 13stone man.
- Check in with your body’s signals for more water – feeling thirsty; dark yellow urine; a long time between trips to the loo.
- Stop thinking, and start doing – set several daily ‘water alarms’ to make drinking water part of your everyday routine.
- Can’t stand water? Then choose drinks that you actually want to drink. What about chilled herbal tea, coconut water, diluted watermelon juice?
- Would you ever decide to not breathe in? Of course not! You know that oxygen is a vital nutrient. You lose water constantly, in breath, urine and sweat. Like oxygen, it’s a vital nutrient – balancing body fluids, energizing muscles, and transporting waste material out via our kidneys. Drink that glass of water, don’t spend your whole day ‘waiting to inhale’.
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Over to you
What’s your favourite Summer thirst quencher? I can’t decide between chilled watermelon juice, and a refreshing spritzer made with apple juice, lavender and soda water. Seems like my glass is more than half full.
I hope this post has left you feeling refreshed, and ready for more, but before you go, remember you’re welcome to leave a comment, or share a tasty tip for others in the Nutrition with Nina community.