What’s your most favourite non-alcoholic drink?
Mine’s water. When I am properly thirsty, nothing comes close to the pleasure of drinking a glass of fresh water.
If you’re lucky to live in a place with good, clean, tasty water, count your lucky stars. If that’s not the case, make sure to get a good filtration system. It’s worth it.
First, the basics
Our bodies contain a lot of water, somewhere between 50 to 70 percent. That’s a lot and it’s vital. In fact, if you lose 1 percent of it, your body will compensate within 24h. Pretty amazing, right?
Here’s what water does for us:
- Keeps your skin supple
- Provides moisture for your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Helps you flush out waste via your hardworking kidneys
- Keeps your brain functioning right (being dehydrated affects cognition and mood)
- Allows for proper digestion (along with a proper content of fibre)
- Keeps your joints lubricated and helps absorb shocks as you go abo
- Dissolves nutrients and minerals which makes them more available for your body
- Helps maintain your body temperature within a range that allows for all body system to operate smoothly
Hydration keeps you going
How many glasses of water do you drink every day? If you’re trying to come up with a number that sounds reasonable, don’t worry. I don’t keep track of the actual number, but I no longer fall behind in making sure I drink enough.
I start my day with a big glass of water with some lemon juice or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in it, right after I brush my teeth and after I do my stretches (stretching with a belly-full of water is a big no-no).
Then comes coffee, and yes, you’re right to think that caffeine is a diuretic which means it causes dehydration. Dose matters though. One or two cups in the morning will have a mild diuretic effect but not enough to cause trouble. Still, drinking water before or after you have coffee or black tea is a good habit.
Depending on your day and beverage preference, you may opt for tea, more tea, smoothies, some soup perhaps. That’s on top of drinking water. But how do you know whether you are drinking enough?
The Goldilocks zone
No day is like the others, even when it comes to staying properly hydrated. Some days you may have more tea or soup than usual (or, as it happens during the warm season, watermelon but then again, who can fault you for having too much of it?), which means you’ll drink less water because you might not be as thirsty.
A good way is to assess whether you’re drinking enough water is by assessing the colour of your urine throughout the day. Pale yellow means you are doing well hydration-wise, darker shades means you need to drink some water. If your urine is almost clear, you are drinking too much water.
Hot temperatures and physical activity will have you adjust the fluid intake.
Good to know
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to water:
- Sometimes we misjudge our thirst for hunger, so we reach for a snack rather than a glass of water. Go for the water first and see how you feel.
- If you eat a good amount of fibre with your meals (and I hope you do), make sure you drink enough water to avoid constipation. Water and fibre are best friends you see. Soluble fibre dissolves in water (hence the name) and results in a gel-like substance. On the other hand, insoluble fibre will absorb water, helping to bulk up the stool and make it softer, which allows for good elimination.
- The unpopular bit: don’t use sweetened beverages to quench your thirst. Good summer compromises include: kombucha (I usually dilute it with water), flavoured water (think frozen berries, cucumber or lemon slices, mint or lemon balm leaves added to a pitcher), or hibiscus tea which you can sweeten with monkfruit or stevia.