Life is hectic, and when you’re running around trying to get everything done, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. It’s recommended that we drink six to eight glasses of water a day, which might seem overwhelming, but your body will thank you for it afterwards. Making small changes to your day and swapping a snack for a fluid can help you reach your goal and improve your general health and well-being. So, why is it so important to stay hydrated, and what goes on in your body when you’re not drinking enough fluids? At Trinity Medical Group, we’re here to give you some answers.
Why do we need to stay hydrated?
Your body is made up of two-thirds water, which is an amazing statistic and one that people often forget. With this in mind, it’s essential that fluid levels in your body are maintained, as your body depends on fluids to survive. Every biological process in your body happens because of water and needs liquid so that basic functions can be carried out. Your cells, tissues, and organs rely on hydration, so they can concentrate on important jobs like removing waste from your body and lubricating your joints.
What happens when you’re not hydrated?
Headaches, dry mouth, and light-headedness are all symptoms of dehydration. Sound familiar? The chances are that you’ve experienced dehydration before. It often occurs after high-intensity exercise, if you are unwell, if you suffer from certain medical conditions, if you’re pregnant, or if you’re trying to lose weight. But you will also suffer from dehydration if you simply forget to drink an adequate amount of fluid during your day.
The easiest way to tell if you’re dehydrated is to check your urine. The clearer it is, the more hydrated you are, so if your urine is a dark yellow color, then you’re probably dehydrated. Infants and elderly people are the most at-risk age groups, as children engage in lots of physical activity and elderly people have a weaker sense of thirst , so that’s important to remember.
How much should you drink?
It’s often noted that drinking six to eight glasses of water a day is sufficient enough to stay hydrated, or around 1.6 litres of fluid for women and 2 litres for men. Everyone’s different, so these amounts are flexible and you can assess the right amount for you.
What should you drink?
Water is the best fluid to drink, but it’s not the only fluid that you have to drink to stay hydrated. It is recommended that you drink six to eight glasses of water, but some of the glasses can be substituted for other fluids. The benefit of water is that it will keep you hydrated and not add extra calories or sugar on top, therefore it’s the healthiest choice.
Tea, coffee, milk, juice, and smoothies are all effective fluids, and they also have additional vitamins and minerals. Their calorie intake is more, but they can still hydrate you. Soft drinks can also keep you hydrated; however, their sugar and calorie content are high, so they should not be used to entirely maintain your hydration levels. Alcohol contains water, but the other substances within it actually counteract this and dehydrate you because you lose more water through urination. Your daily intake of food actually provides around 20% of the water your body needs to stay hydrated. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, and foods like soup will also help prevent dehydration.
Once regular fluid drinking is a part of your routine, it’ll become easier to achieve six to eight glasses a day. Keeping bottles of water by your workstation or with you during the day helps remind you, and drinking fluids when you’re hungry can help too, as thirst is often confused as hunger.
If you’re worried about keeping hydrated or want further advice from friendly professionals, you can get in touch with us at Trinity Medical Group, where your health and well-being are of upmost importance.