Hydration for health is not just a good idea- it’s essential!

Remaining hydrated is extremely important- indeed essential- for health. What a lot of people don’t realise is drinking a certain amount of fluids is also necessary for optimal heart health.  This is particularly true in warm weather to keep the blood circulating optimally.

Every single cell in the body requires sufficient water, as do your skin, eyes, brain, muscles and organs. The body requires water to lubricate the spongy pads between bones, maintain appropriate internal body temperature and remove waste elements by processes of excretion or sweating.

Maintaining your level of hydration assists your heart pump blood through your arteries and assists muscles in doing their work of squeezing or pulling better. This means whenever you drink liquids your heart does not have to work as hard.

Water Is better than just about anything else…..some liquids are definitely not as good!

Water is the thing that is most beneficial to drink, in terms of remaining hydrated especially when you are exercising.  Although beer is largely made of water it doesn’t count, I’m afraid- sorry about that! If you are someone who does not enjoy drinking water alone, decide to try consuming vegetables and fruits which have a high water content.  The following are very good food items which also have a significant hydrating effect:

•             cucumbers

•             iceberg lettuce

•             celery

•             apples

•             tomatoes

•             green peppers

•             watermelon

•             citrus fruits

•             strawberries

•             cantaloupe

That’s a significant amount of healthy choice, not only for staying hydrated but for other significant health benefits such as vitamins and minerals in fresh vegetable juices.  One thing I do is drink fresh vegetable juice on a regular basis and use them as meal replacements.  They can take some getting used to, but the benefits are huge so worth persevering with.

Sports drinks are highly recommended in hot weather due to their electrolyte content. Nevertheless, you should try to stay away from added sugar and calories which can be sneakily added to the beverage almost without you noticing, so always check the label. Consuming any beverage that is sugary (for example soda or fruit juice), tends to be counterproductive in that it adds to your overall loading of fat stores as excess sugar is stored in the tissues and you eventually carry more weight, and with the added horrible complication of diabetes and all that entails. 

Anything with caffeine in causes you to lose fluid, which obviously defeats the reason you’re drinking it in the first place.  Another urban myth busted is that drinking a hot drink in hot weather helps you to cool down quicker- this theory, oft told, has been debunked by scientists, so no, that doesn’t play, I’m afraid.

Simply question- is it possible to drink too much?

You’ve probably heard or read somewhere that you need to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This is true to an extent, and although many individuals still hold this to be the marker of adequate consumption, what you wear and whether or not you are exercising and the climate at the time are also significant factors.

Never allow the fact that you feel thirsty be a sign. If you’re thirsty, you have ALREADY reached the point of getting dehydrated so be aware, plan ahead and keep at your functional peak.  The dangers of dehydration cannot be overstated- heat cramps, brain fog, heatstroke.  You will need to drink much more liquids if you perspire even a little more than average because of this. You also need to drink significantly more fluids if you have a condition such as diabetes but your medical advisor will give you proper advice.  Bear in mind also that if you are ill, vomiting and diahorrea can significantly alter the balance of fluids in the body.  Your bowel needs water to function correctly, and too little can lead to constipation.

If you know someone who is elderly, they will need to drink, especially so in hot weather.  They tend to forget or perhaps can’t be bothered with the hassle of keep going to the bathroom so need someone to remind them.  They are also particularly susceptible to urinary tract infections, known as UTIs, so drinking can help avoid this rather unpleasant condition which in the worst cases can lead to hospitalization.  Anyone at risk can drink cranberry juice which is known for its soothing and healing properties.

Contrary to popular belief sometimes once you feel hungry, you truly might actually be thirsty. If you’ve eaten in the last couple of hours, test this. Drink one glass of water and wait approximately ten minutes. If from then you no longer feel hungry, you will know you’re coping with dehydration and not hunger- and managing your weight at the same time as you haven’t reached for the snacks.  That’s a win win in my book!

One of the better approaches to monitor your moisture level is to record along with of the urine. If it’s pale it indicates you’re hydrated to the right standard for you. If it’s dark, you’ll want to drink significantly more fluids.  Never ever take dehydration lightly.

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