Water is life, they say. But unless you live in parts of the world where there is constant deprivation of this basic need, you can lose sight of how very true this statement is – or of how dehydrated you may actually be. The human body comprises 50 to 70% water, which helps it to function optimally. Your body needs water to stay refreshed and vitalised: muscle tissue comprises 75% water which is lost through regular work and exercise; nutrients need water to circulate properly through the body; the digestive system uses water to help flush out toxins and waste; the skin uses water to literally look good; water helps the brain stay hydrated, sharp and clear … and if you don’t drink enough water, you will die.
Considering its significance to your survival, you should be trying to develop a lifestyle that includes regular water consumption. Here are 15 tips for how you can stay hydrated – in and out of summer, adapted from The Gleaner’s interview with nutritionist Marsha Woolery:
- Form a natural habit of drinking water regularly.
- Never wait until you feel thirsty or parched, when your throat is dry and your lips start cracking.
- Never rely solely on thirst, because as soon as you put water on your tongue the feeling of thirst will go away
- Practice drinking eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of water per day.
- Travel with a water decanter and sip on the liquid throughout the day.
- Drink more water if you are quite active. Before, during and after an exercise session, especially if it’s strenuous, keep well hydrated.
- You can also get water from other sources, like natural organic water from fruits and vegetables, and, of course, other liquids.
- Coconut water is a great source, because it not only keeps you hydrated but provide essential nutrients
- Add lime and other fruits to water to enhance the flavour.
- Take note of how often you are urinating and its colour. Urine colour should be just a light shade of yellow. If it’s bright yellow, almost concentrated, you need more water in your system. If it’s colourless, cut down on the fluids.
- Choose rehydrated sports drink with low sugar content. Five grams per eight-ounce is the recommendation.
- Aim to wake feeling hydrated. If you are thirsty when you get up in the mornings you may not be consuming enough during the day. You can also keep a glass of water near your bedside for the times you may wake in the middle of the night feeling thirsty.
- Weighing yourself daily can help check hydration. Your weight should not fluctuate too much. Compensate for any weight loss plan you’re on.
- Do not drink while eating. This will disrupt the digestive process and affect the effectiveness of the alkaline breakdown that begins in the mouth.
- Do not mistake thirst for hunger. Too often people allow themselves to get too thirsty and mistake it for hunger, which leads to overeating.