Did you know your body is made of around 60% water? Water is required for every single function necessary to sustain life. Its key roles include carrying oxygen to your cells, regulating your blood pressure and body temperature, helping to eliminate wastes and toxins, and dissolving nutrients and transporting them throughout your body.
Water also helps dissolve and flush uric acid and other wastes that can build up around your joints, helps flush your gall bladder and bile ducts in your digestive system and helps make digestive secretions that break down food so you can absorb the nutrients.
Knowing this, it's perhaps not surprising that dehydration can affect us in a multitude of ways. It can hamper liver's detoxification processes and digestive function. It creates extra demand on your heart by decreasing blood volume and causing your heart to beat faster. And dehydration can cause headaches, impact your joint health and make you more susceptible to overheating when pregnant.
For every kilo of your body weight, you need to drink 30ml of water each day, plus more if exercising or consuming diuretic drinks.
Your weight in kilos x .03 = the amount in litres of water you need to drink each day.
So if you weigh 70kg, for example, you need to be drinking a minimum of 2L of water each day.
There are times your body requires more water than normal, such as...
Signs of dehydration
Peeing three times or less a day
Urine that matches 4 or 5 in the chart below. Urine that matches 6 or 7 means you are severely dehydrated.
Passing hard stools with cracks in the surface or 'rabbit pellet' poo
High blood pressure
Cracks and furrows on the tongue
Sunken appearance around the eyes
Lack of activity or excessive tiredness in children
Feeling unwell in hot weather (weak, dizzy, nauseous, muscle cramps...)
Ways to increase your and your family's water intake
*Start each day with a glass or mug of room temperature water or warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
*Buy attractive, LARGE glasses and mugs. Fill 'em right up!
*Take a water bottle everywhere you go (the supermarket, cinema, when walking the dog, work, school, a fitness class, when travelling). Sip often. Stainless steel is the best choice for water bottles, to reduce your exposure to toxins found in plastics.
*Always water down any fruit juices for children.
*Keep an attractive glass jug of water in your kitchen or living room.
*Swap coffee and black tea for herbal teas. Peppermint, licorice, chamomile, ginger and berry teas are some popular choices.
*Home-made soups and broths are hydrating and can be carried in a stainless steel flask.
*About 10% of our water intake comes from our food. Eat at least one piece of fruit each morning and three kinds of veg plus a leafy salad every day.
*Set a reminder on your phone or use an app to remind you to drink water and to track your daily water intake.
*Drink one large glass of water for every coffee, black tea or alcoholic drink you consume, to replace the fluid lost.
Finally, consider investing in a water filter. Possible contaminants in our tap water include chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, pesticides and plastics. Water jugs that come with disposable filters are one of the more affordable options and have the advantage of not demineralizing the water, though the carbon filters they use cannot remove fluoride. PUR and BRITA are two popular brands that can be found online.
Urine colour chart - aim to have pee that consistently matches 1, 2 or 3
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