By Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS
I’m sure you’ve all heard many times over the course of your life that it’s important to drink enough water each day, to stay hydrated when you’re active or out in the sun, and so on. However, have you ever really stopped to think about why it’s so important? There are some surprising connections between having enough water and many health challenges. When working with clients, one of the fundamental things we often work on is getting more water in their daily routine.
Low energy + sugar cravings
When you have that dry feeling in your mouth, it’s often your cue to drink more water. However, when you get that feeling you’re already quite dehydrated. More often, a lack of sufficient hydration feels like low energy. That’s because there’s not enough blood volume so your heart is working a lot harder to get blood moving throughout your body. This lack of energy often means a run to the back shop for a coffee and a sweet snack, grazing on sugary treats at the office, and other more mindless eating between meals that are carbohydrate based. Try and drink a glass of water about 20 minutes before a meal. Staying properly hydrated throughout the day will increase your energy levels and lessen those sugar cravings.
When you’re dehydrated your body holds onto water, causing you to feel bloated. It may feel counter-intuitive, but when you drink more water the bloating will reduce. Constipation is also a major sign of not getting enough water; it’s the element that helps move the waste through your digestive tract and out of the body. Without enough of it there, things slow down significantly.
Headaches and Migraines
While there are many causes for headaches and migraines, often lack of enough hydration can play a role. When the body does not have enough water, the blood volume in your body is reduced.¹ This then reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood that is getting to your brain, which in turn can cause headaches. The next time you feel a headache coming on, think back on how well you’ve been hydrating. It may be a missing link for you!
How much water should you be having?
While everyone is different, and will vary based on things like activity levels, you should aim for at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, or 1.5-2 litres minimum. Often the biggest challenge I see with clients is just remember to drink water. Try a reminder that pops up on your calendar or phone every hour, or an app like Waterlogged which will track your water intake and remind you to drink throughout the day.
Also, an important thing to keep in mind is if you drink anything caffeinated add to your total. So for every cup of coffee, which is dehydrating, add another cup of water (and hopefully you’re aiming for a maximum one cup of good quality coffee a day!).
No need to think of water as boring!
- Herbal Teas: In addition to water, herbal teas also count towards total water intake. In the summertime, it’s delicious to steep some tea bags in a large jug of water, throw in some fresh herbs and chopped fruit, and have a sugar free iced tea experience.
- Custom Water Flavours: The same deliciousness can be had with water: try the combo of basil + strawberries; mint + raspberries; rosemary + lemon; or orange + lime.
Be creative – it’s refreshing and will help you feel so much better. It’s one of the basic fundamentals of good health.
Caroline is a champion of accessible, fun and sustainable ways to help you live a healthy and thriving life. Learn more about Caroline and how she can support your health with Holistic Nutrition by booking a complimentary consultation.
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