That’s the common response I receive to my frequently asked fairly standard naturopathic question “How much water do you drink each day?”... sad but true!
I sometimes even hear, “I don’t like the taste” or “water is boring”, oh dear.
We all know we should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day, but seldom reach that important target. The correct amount is 35 ml per kilo of body weight, so if you are a 60 kilo woman and drinking 1 litre per day, you need to double up!
Let’s tackle the taste factor first…hhmm
Try slicing a lemon or lime and place in a jug of water. The juice will permeate the water as the day progresses, and gives the water an appealing fresh taste. Or try drinking warm water with the juice of half a lemon, great for liver function and skin. Tea, coffee and alcohol certainly do not count in your 8 glass a day quota, as they are in fact diuretic, so for every cup of tea or coffee, or glass of wine you need to drink 2 glasses of water. Herbal tea and dandelion coffee do count however, so try perhaps 5 glasses of water and 2 herbal teas and a cup of dandelion coffee. Also try increasing your consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables with a naturally high water content, as the “hidden” water in these foods can add to your overall level of hydration.
Let’s look at the impact of dehydration on our health, which may encourage us to up that water consumption!
Body water deficits of as little as 2% of body weight are known to impair physical performance. This may lead to reduced aerobic power and fatigue, and altered body temperature control. Mild levels of dehydration have also been found to affect mood and cognitive function, including concentration
Water is also vital for skin health. Studies have shown that individuals with low initial water intake, see improvement in skin hydration, thickness and density following rehydration.
Fascinating to also consider that drinking more water may promote weight loss, due to an alteration in metabolism and lowering total energy intake.
And of course we all know that adequate water is essential to protect and support kidney function, especially when the kidneys are under stress, such as in those consuming a high salt diet, or when excessive toxins need to be eliminated (eg medications, OCP, alcohol).
The headache of dehydration!
Those who suffer from headaches will be especially keen to increase their water uptake following recent findings reported in the Jrl Family Practice (2011;10.1093).
Research revealed that drinking 1.5 litres more water per day led to significant improvement in headaches among sufferers. It involved people who had at least two episodes of moderately intense headache a month, or at least five mildly intense episodes, and with a total fluid intake of less than 2.5 litres a day.
The research randomized half of the group to drink more water and the other half not to. Among those who drank more, 47 per cent reported much improvement during a three month followup period, compared with 25 per cent in the control group.
If you suffer from frequent headaches, why not give the increased water test a go... not only may your headaches reduce, energy will increase (one of the major causes of fatigue is dehydration), your skin will glow, digestion and bowel function will improve, and kidney function will be optimal…and what’s more it’s very economical!