Did you know that your body is made up to of approximately 80% water?
How much water is in specific parts of your body?1
- Blood – approx. 90%
- Brain – approx. 70%
- Heart – approx. 70%
- Lungs – approx. 80%
- Bone – approx. 30%
- Muscles – approx. 80%
- Skin – approx. 60%
It stands to reason that we need to hydrate our bodies well to ensure every system and part of the body can best perform its function.
Signs you may need to increase your hydration
Our bodies will give us cues telling us we need more fluids, here are a few to listen out for:
- Headaches and dizziness – Low fluid levels may cause blood volume to drop, which in turn can reduce oxygen flow to the brain.
- Digestive discomfort – Low fluid can clog up the bowels, preventing the movement of waste. This may lead to constipation.
- Hunger – Increased craving for snacks throughout the day may be a sign low water levels. Try having glass of water instead of a chocolate, cake or snack bar.
- Dark coloured urine – If your urine is darker than a pale straw or transparent yellow, then there may be a greater concentration of waste in the urine. This may be a sign to increase fluids.
- Over-tired and sleepy – Low fluid levels may cause a drop in blood volume, which in turn may drop blood pressure and oxygen flow. This can manifest as a sign of fatigue, yawning or sleepiness.
- Dry throat and mouth – Your body’s mucous membranes will become noticeably dry when you are dehydrated. Your lips and corners of your mouth may crack and your nose may feel too dry. Dry mucous membranes are more prone to sores and infections.
- Sweat and increased body temperature – As the body overheats, it sweats and thereby loses water. This may be a sign to increase fluids.
- Muscle cramps – The blood transports nutrients to parts of the body including the muscles. Low levels of essential minerals such as electrolytes magnesium, sodium and potassium may contribute to cramping and muscle spasms.
- Dry skin – Supple, soft, youthful looking skin requires fluids. Test by pinching the skin and see how fast it bounces back. Skin that snaps back quickly shows good hydration.
What does the colour of your urine mean?
- Transparent – you are drinking lots of water, it is safe to cut back.
- Pale straw colour / Transparent-Yellow – you are well hydrated.
- Amber or honey – your body is not getting enough water, you need to increase your fluid consumption.
- Syrup / brown ale – you may be severely dehydrated, increase your fluid intake immediately and should colour persist see your health care professional.
- Pink / Red tint – did you eat red rich coloured foods such as blue-berries, and beetroots? If not, there may be blood in the urine. Check with your health care professional to rule out urinary tract infection.
- Blue / Green tint – did today’s meal include blue / green dye? Are you taking any medications? Check with your health care professional if this colour persists.
- Foaming / Fizzing – have you increased your protein intake? A rich protein diet may cause digestive discomfort and require additional digestive enzymes. Check with your health care professional to ensure good kidney health.
Ways to keep your body hydrated
Try these fun ways to keep the body hydrated
Set fluid intake goals during the day – use a water bottle and marker to mark times of the day on the bottle:
Morning – start at the top mark 8am, 9am, 10am, using equal space intervals
- 8am (1/4 from the top of the bottle)
- 9am (middle of bottle)
- 10am (1/4 from the bottom of the bottle)
Fill up at 12pm midday
- Afternoon – start at the top mark 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, using equal space intervals
- 2pm (1/4 from the top of the bottle)
- 3pm (middle of bottle)
- 4pm (1/4 from the bottom of the bottle)
Key times of the day
Upon rising – kick start the day with a lemon juice and warm water. You can add 5ml of Liquid Chlorophyll for alkalising and detoxification.
Meal times – include a glass of water at the table and when dining out.
During exercise or work-out – make sure you carry your water bottle and sip through-out the session.
There are now apps to track your fluid level progress. For the app-centric, it can help track, store, and analyse your water consumption.
If you dislike the taste of water, jazz it up with a dash of lemon or lime juice. Freeze your favourite fruit juice or coconut water in ice cubes to enliven your drinking water.
Sip a couple of cups of herbal or spice tea – chamomiles, peppermint, ginger, lemongrass, lemon myrtle. There are numerous health benefits of herbal teas including antibacterial, antiviral, immune-strengthening, energy-boosting or calming properties. Some are rich sources of antioxidants fighting free radical damage in the body.
Infuse your water with fruits, vegetables, or herbs.
- Add your favourite flavours for variety — like citrus, berries, cucumber, melons.
- Or you may just want to add some mint leaves, lemongrass or lavender for a cool refreshing beverage.
Green juices are packed with nutritional goodness and very hydrating.
- Try kale, spinach, silver beets, cucumber, zucchini, celery, and broccoli thrown into your mix.
Use a straw – this may increase your water intake by drinking faster.
Invest in a drinking bottle that you will love to use.
- Ideal size is 1.5L bottle, carry it around while you’re on the go.
The importance of electrolytes and how to boost them in your diet:
Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge.2
Electrolytes affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle functions, and other important processes.2
Common electrolytes include: Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium.2
Lack of hydration can contribute to electrolyte loss and imbalance, which can manifest in the body in a number of ways, including muscle aches and spasm, dark urine, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, lethargy, nausea and bowel irregularities.
Home-made electrolyte drinks are an inexpensive and delicious way to ensure your hydration is mineral balanced. Fresh natural electrolyte replenishing foods sources include citrus, coconuts and honey. (See recipe for Coconut & Lime drink below)
Recipe - Coconut & Lime Drink
2 cups coconut water
1 cup water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or rock salt
1 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup (add more to taste)
Mix and enjoy….a toast to H2O good hydration!
- The water in you, USGS Water Science, https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html
- Electrolyte, Medline Plus http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002350.htm#sthash.2f0CzDrI.dpuf