Do You Drink Enough Water?
Do you often get headaches? Feel sluggish? Tired? This can all be caused by dehydration. The majority
of our body (50-60%) is made up of water and it has a huge impact on how we function. Unlike food which we can last without for a surprisingly long time (Ghandi survived without food for 21 days), water is another story all together. It does vary, but it would seem that you can last between 3 days and a week before dying from dehydration. In fact, a 10% drop in body fluid would result in death!
Even mild dehydration has an impact on your health, which is drinking less than 1.5-2 litres of water or herbal (non-caffeinated)/fruit tea a day. Sadly, caffeinated tea and coffee don’t count, and actually dehydrate you. You would need to drink 2 glasses of water for every cup or tea or coffee to balance it out. Similarly, alcohol does not count as it inhibits Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) or Vasopressin secretion and also dehydrates you (ADH is the hormone that regulates the amount of water excreted by your kidneys). In fact a good way to reduce a hangover if you do need to indulge is to drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks and to have a big glass of water again before you retire to bed. Are you licking your lips a lot? Have a dry mouth? Or even dry eyes? Is your pee a darker colour? Do you feel groggy? Have some water; these are all due to not having enough fluid in your system.
Listen to your body, it will tell you when you are thirsty. If you feel hungry when you have recently eaten have a glass of water as you may be thirsty. The body sends the same signal for thirst and hunger until you are dehydrated; then you feel thirsty. Anyone who is trying to lose weight should be drinking more water and you will feel less hungry. Also, drinking water before a meal acts as a natural appetite suppressant and could help you eat less. Dehydration is also the number one cause of fatigue, so if you are feeling lethargic - perhaps you need to increase your intake of water. If you are dehydrated by 5% then your cognitive ability is reduced by 30%. Research has also shown that drinking water actually increases your metabolism and in two studies, "drinking half a litre of water was shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to 1.5 hours. This means that drinking 2 litres of water every day can increase your total energy expenditure by up to 96 calories per day" (Boschmann et al. 2003). The brain is also very reliant on water. The brain and spinal cord sits in cerebrospinal fluid and requires water for the firing of synapses and neurons. According to research, one tell-tale sign of dehydration is a reduction in mental performance and memory.
Severe dehydration that can be life threatening due to the impact on the kidneys and renal fa