Water makes up about two thirds of the weight of a healthy body. Water is essential for elimination of toxins, absorption of nutrients, regulation of body temperature and transport of oxygen into cells. The sensation of thirst may not be triggered until dehydration is well established and the feeling of thirst can become desensitised if it is ignored on a regular basis.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Lack of concentration, headaches
Constipation, dark coloured urine
Lack of energy
Feeling light headed
Maintaining hydration may help control weight – one can often confuse hunger with thirst.
How much do we need?
Guidelines vary from 1.2 to 2.5 litres of fluid per day to be replaced. This of course depends on levels of exercise and climate. Most nutritional therapists will advise an intake of 6-8 glasses of water per day, which equates to 1.2 litres. Although tea, coffee and soft drinks do contribute to fluid intake, water has the benefit of being caffeine-free and contributing zero calories. Of course fruit and vegetables, as well as herbal teas will make an important contribution to water levels in the body.
Tips on to increasing your water intake:
Warm can be more pleasant to drink than cold – especially in winter. Starting the day with a drink of water supports your body in flushing out the toxins that have been building up during your overnight fast. Can also encourage regular bowel movements.
If you find the taste boring, try adding slices of lemon, orange or melon as well as cucumber or sprigs of mint.
Convert at least one coffee break to a ‘water break’
Create a daily schedule, for example a glass of water 20 minutes before each meal. Avoid drinking large quantities of water at mealtimes as it can dilute digestive juices, making them less effective.
Lemon Mint Cucumber Water
1/4 a cucumber, sliced thin
a lemon, sliced thin
sprigs of mint
1 litre of water
Add cucumber, lemon and mint in a pitcher. Fill with water, leave for 5 minutes. Enjoy!