You Oughta Drink Some More Water
“You Oughta Drink Some More Water”
By Clare Barg October 14 2018.
Are you feeling tired, cranky, or fighting the urge for a sweet or salty snack?
Do you have dry or problem skin?
Are you prone to digestive issues such as constipation?
Chances are you are suffering from dehydration and “you oughta drink some more water”.
Why is water so important (or why does my naturopath keep asking me about my water intake)?
If I had to choose one nutrient above all others, it would definitely be water. Put quite simply, without water your body wouldn’t be able to function. The body can adapt to function without food for days, but without water-it’s in a whole lotta trouble.
Water plays a role in nearly every function of the body, either directly or indirectly. It makes up about 60% of your body-men and infants have a little more, whereas women and people with a high body fat percentage have a little less. Water is found in your intracellular and extracellular fluids, plasma, organs, spine and digestive tract.
Water is needed for many actions in our bodies, including:
- Brain function
- Digestion of food
- Excretion of waste through our urine, sweat and faeces
- Increasing satiety levels
- Supporting a healthy metabolic rate
- Forming a barrier in the skin to protect against foreign bodies
- Maintaining our body temperature.
Without enough water in the body, we become dehydrated. Even a little bit of dehydration can make a big difference. Research has shown that 1-3% dehydration can impact on processes such as brain function, memory, energy and mood.
So, to help our bodies function ‘on all 8 cylinders’ all day, we need to keep a close eye on our water intake.
How to improve your water intake
OK, so we all now know how important hydration is to keep our energy levels up and our digestive system happy. How can we make sure we get enough water?
Here are some helpful tips to get more water into your day.
- Eat your water
Your trusty water bottle isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. There are plenty of high-water foods around, and we’ll start to see those delicious tropical fruits back in our fresh produce markets soon (can’t wait for the nectarines and peaches!!).
Foods with a high water content include:
- Green leafy vegetables (e.g. lettuce)
- Make drinking more fun
Many people find plain water a bit boring. You can make water more interesting, especially as we head into the warmer months, by adding fresh fruit and herbs to your water. Berries, citrus fruits, mint and rosemary can all give your water a bit more zing, without any artificial flavours, colours, or sweeteners.
When it’s not so warm, there’s nothing like a herbal tea to help you stay hydrated and warm (love me some ginger and cinnamon tea).
If you’re trying to replace soft drink or reduce your alcohol intake, sparkling water is a great alternative too.
- Create a habit
The easiest way to incorporate a new habit is to tie it to a current one. Have a think about what you do at least 4-5 times a day and make those the times that you drink a glass of water. It could be after you brush your teeth, or when you check your emails or when you take a break from your work or after you go to the bathroom. Choose times that work for you and I promise it does get easier with practice.
- Remind yourself
I know there are apps to help track your diet and water intake but I find using a good water bottle is often enough. Know how much your water bottle holds and then calculate how many of those you need to drink during the course of your day. Keep that water bottle visible too to remind you to keep drinking.
So, how much water should you drink?
Different people have different needs for water, depending on their body composition, exercise, medication use and other lifestyle factors. The weather can also influence how much you should be drinking.
The Australian Government recommendations are around 2.1-2.6L of fluid per day. But if you’re not drinking water much, it’s best to start slowly and work your way up.
If you’re exercising, you’ll want to add 1-2 cups of water for every 30 minutes of exercise you do. If the temperature is over 30°C, then add an extra 2 cups per day.
My rule though is to make sure your urine is clear or a light straw yellow colour. If it’s any darker than this, you oughta drink some more water!
Water intake is just one piece of the puzzle though. If you are still feeling fatigued or still have digestive issues, please contact me for an appointment and we can work together towards your better health.
Metheny, N., & Metheny, N. M. (2011). Fluid and electrolyte balance. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.