Water – one of my soap box topics.
My kids will tell you that according to me, water is the answer, no matter what the complaint!
Headache? Drink some water. Hungry? You’re probably just thirsty – drink some water. Tired? Have a drink of water. Cold/cough/catarrh/stomach upset? Drink some water.
But there is actually some sense behind my seeming madness. Our bodies (depending on age and gender) are roughly 60% water. That’s a high percentage! And water is required for all our body functions – respiration, digestion, circulation, reproduction, cognition, communication. Dehydration is a serious problem for us land loving mammals, and while our bodies have evolved fantastic adaptations to allow us to function in air, we do need to be mindful of the messages our body gives – especially the ones to drink water.
Dehydration is a sliding scale, which goes from mild to extreme, and culminates in death. Hopefully no one in the western world, with easy access to clean water, would end up so dehydrated they die, but it is sadly not uncommon for both the young and elderly to end up hospitalised with severe dehydration. Listening to your body’s messages to drink, and acting upon them is important.
Thirst is the communication most people recognise as the body’s way of telling them to drink – but it isn’t something we always immediately act on. Knowing that by the time you are feeling thirsty, you are actually already some way on the dehydration scale, should help you to act more quickly.
Headaches, tiredness, light-headedness and difficulty concentrating are again indicators that you might be further along the dehydration scale, and dehydration is one reason our cognitive function can diminish. So when the mid afternoon slump hits you at work, get up, take a walk, and reach for the water, not the caffeinated drinks and sugary snacks that you THINK will help, but that will actually cause you to become even more dehydrated.
Which brings us on to hunger versus thirst. Research shows it’s not as easy to tell the difference between the two as you might think it should be. We tend not to listen to our body cues, or we disregard them, so that over time we can no longer tell the difference between hunger and thirst. Or we never really feel hunger/thirst because we’re constantly eating/drinking due to boredom, social situations or a liking of the taste. Hence my response to my kids – assume thirst and treat the mild dehydration with water first, before reaching for the food.
To really combat dehydration, sipping water constantly throughout the day beats downing a pint of water every few hours, and drinking plain, still water, is the healthiest option for your teeth (fizzy and fruit infused water raises the acidity levels in the mouth, which over time weaken teeth). If plain water really isn’t your thing, then go for herbal teas and no sugar decaffeinated tea/coffee over the fruit and caffeinated versions, as both sugar and caffeine dehydrate the body.
So how do you know for sure that you’re well hydrated? Well, mental clarity and alertness are a good indicator, but even better is the colour of your urine. Well hydrated people’s urine is a very pale yellow (think champagne!) whereas the darker the colour, the greater the chance you’re dehydrated.
Sometimes the solutions to our everyday complaints don’t have to be complicated or require medication; they can be free, simple and easy – like water!
Pop on over to my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/mobilemassagetherapyukto see the video accompanying this blog post. And if you’ve a topic you’d like me to address in a future blog, do let me know.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com