Our bodies are made up of roughly 70% water, but we lose hydration daily when we sweat, use the bathroom, exercise, experience temperature changes, when we’re ill and even when we breathe. We all know how important it is to drink eight glasses of water a day, but surprisingly, it is something that even the most health-conscious can forget to prioritise. A dry mouth and thirst are not the only indicators that you’re not maintaining your daily water intake. Do you know the warning signs?
You know when those 3pm sugar cravings hit, and you just can’t help but stuff a cookie in your mouth to make it through the rest of the work day? Well, given that hunger and thirst originate from the same part of the brain, it’s likely that what you really need is to gulp down a big glass of water. Keep a jug or large bottle of water on your desk and sip throughout the day.
Although a taboo subject for most, if you are struggling to pass a daily stool, it may be a sign of dehydration. When your body is lacking water, it goes into crisis mode and leaches moisture from areas like your colon to ensure your other vital organs have enough water to function. Unfortunately, this can cause your bowel to be a little sluggish. Try adding some psyllium or chia seeds into your diet to get things moving. And of course, make sure to up your water intake!
While there are many factors that contribute to a headache, if you’re experiencing a generalised headache for no specific reason, dehydration may be to blame. However, this type of headache is easy to spot as it usually coincides with other symptoms of dehydration such as fatigue, dry mouth and nausea, just to name a few!
As your brain is made up of roughly 75% water, it is one of the first places to feel the effects of dehydration. Lack of water in the brain has been shown to affect memory, mood and decision making.
Ideally, your urine should be a light, clear colour or at the very least, straw yellow. So, look before you flush, and if it’s any darker then it’s time to up your water intake, kids.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and requires water to prevent dryness. However, when we are dehydrated, water is released from the cells of the skin and transported to vital organs, resulting in a dry, cracked and a flaky complexion. But before you reach for the shea butter, try topping up your hydration levels from the inside out.
So, how much water should you be drinking?
Generally, it is recommended that we drink 0.035 litres of water per kilogram of body weight. So, if you’re a 65kg female, you should be drinking roughly 2.3 litres of water a day. However, if you are physically active, sick or in a hot climate, aim for more!
If you are struggling to reach your intake goals, try and get into the habit of sipping on water regularly throughout the day, or have two or three glasses at a time. Make sure to always carry a water bottle with you, drink sparkling mineral water instead of sugary sodas and try and spice things up by flavouring your water with lemon, cucumber or mint. And remember, if you’re thirsty then you are already dehydrated. So, stay vigilant and sip, sip, sip!