Dr Adeline Chia explains the importance of proper hydration and provides tips on how we can stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated is an essential part of staying healthy. Water accounts for almost two thirds of our body weight (60%) and every system depends on it.
Hydration is Essential for Your Body Functions
Body fluids are involved in digestion, absorption, blood circulation, creation of saliva, cushions organs and joints, transportation of nutrients/waste, keeping our bowels regular and maintenance of body temperature.
Water is an important tool in keeping our skin healthy, maintaining heart rate and blood pressure. By keeping our body hydrated, it helps the heart to pump blood through the vessels and to the muscles, keeping you energized, active and healthy. Therefore, if you are well hydrated, your heart does not have to work as hard.
Hydration Keeps You Alert
When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you are playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun. Most people know that they need to drink in hot weather or after exercising, but staying properly hydrated is important at all times. It’s important to make sure that we drink plenty of water throughout the day. Being dehydrated can have a negative effect on our alertness and concentration at work and more severely can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.
Better Hydration = Better Productivity
The brain is very sensitive to changes in water balance, which in turn can affect a person’s mental state/performance (eg: concentration, alertness and short-term memory) as well as overall work-related productivity. A study was conducted to determine whether water deprivation has an effect towards mental performance in male and female volunteers. It was reported that when a person (male or female) is dehydrated, they are more likely to feel tired, sluggish and require more effort to concentrate compared to an adequately hydrated person. A result like this illustrates the importance of good hydration to everyone, regardless of your profession.
How Much Fluids is Enough?
Drinking fluids at regular intervals will help to replenish lost fluids before dehydration sets in. This is important because by the time you actually feel thirsty, the body’s water level is likely to be lower than it should be. Now you will be wondering, how much is enough?
Research by the Institute of Medicine recommends an average of 8-12 glasses of water per day.
However, specific recommendations vary based on your level of activity, the temperature where you live and your personal medical history. For example, when you are more active or live in a very hot environment, you should drink more fluids. Drinking sufficient amount of water is also important for diabetic and heart disease patients. If you’re diabetic, drinking more water will help you to avoid over-taxing your heart and other organs.
How to Check if You’re Drinking Enough
The easiest way to know how much fluid is required is by paying attention to the color of your urine. Pale and clear colored urine means that you are well hydrated but if it is dark, more fluids are required. See our pee colour chart here.
9 Tips for Staying Hydrated
- Fill your glass from a container that holds at least 64 ounces (1,893L) of water. Drink at least one full container every day.
- Drink a glass of water or other beverage with every meal and every snack.
- Drink a glass of water in between each meal.
- Keep a log of your drinks for a week to see if you’re getting enough.
- Carry a water bottle with you on-the-go.
- Add fresh lemon or lime to your water since studies show that people drink more water when it’s flavored, even without added sugar.
- Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. They contain lots of water, and up to twenty percent of your fluid intake comes from the food you eat.
- Begin and end your day with water. Drink a glass when you wake up and a glass before you go to sleep.
- Download this app that reminds you to drink water.
While sticking to a healthy diet can sometimes be a challenge for all of us, staying hydrated is an easy step you can take towards good health.
How do you keep yourself hydrated? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!