For some, drinking enough water can be a chore. Some can find plain water so boring, my mum always said she would rust if she drank too much water! Staying hydrated is important year round, but never as much as in the heat. In our last post about Summer Amanda spoke to us about the sun pulling moisture from our pores and the importance of staying hydrated. And they say that when you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.
Our bodies are made up of 55-60% water
depending on physique and sex. A fit body will have more water as fatty tissue holds less water than lean muscle. Women have a higher level of fat in our bodies so therefore we will have less water than men. Roughly, we need to drink 0.033L of water per kilo of our body weight. So if you are 60kg that's 2L, 70kg that's 2.3L, 80kg you need 2.6L of water a day and so on. Since we are made up of more than half our body weight of water, it's easy to see why we need to stay hydrated for our body to function.
Being dehydrated affects so my of our normal functions as water keeps our blood nice and thin so it flows smoothly and easily around our body.
Signs of dehydration:
1. Dry skin
It doesn't matter how great the products are that you use for your skin, it is vital you also feed your skin from the inside. This is the whole basis of Freya's Nourishment. Natural Beauty - Inside and Out! If you're dehydrated your skin will show it. It will be dull, flaky, cracked. We all have dry skin from time to time, some of us more than others. That's not the same as dehydrated skin. Do the pinch test on the back of your hand. Lightly pinch the skin - it should return to normal within a few seconds. If it stays up and "tented" then it is dehydrated.
2. Dry mouth and bad breath
We all know that feeling of spitting feathers. You may have just done a workout in warm weather, gone for a long walk or maybe you just have not been drinking any water. Our saliva contains antibacterial properties. When you are dehydrated you can't produce enough saliva. And if you can't produce enough saliva you can get an overgrowth of bacteria...which means bad breath! And none of us want stinky breath!
I don't get headaches often but when a headache comes on randomly I automatically question how much water I've been drinking. Dehydration is a lack of fluid within the body. It affects every aspect of your body. Including the brain. If you have a lack of fluid, the brain (along with other organs) shrivels a little. But since your brain is encased in your skull, this means it pulls away from skull and the outer layer of the brain triggers pain receptors, resulting in a headache. A nicely hydrated body will leave the brain plump and resting in its proper place.
No one likes to talk about toilet stuff. But it's a normal bodily function and we all do it. Your toilet habits are a great sign of what's going on in your body. If your pee is light coloured and frequent, that's a good sign of your levels of hydration. Same goes with your bowels. Our poop is mainly made up of water, just like the rest of our bodies. If we are dehydrated, then our colon is absorbing more water from our waste than normal, which dries things out and binds us up...meaning things take longer to flow through the colon. For things to flow freely, you need to be hydrated.
5. Muscle Cramps and Fatigue
Being dehydrated means our blood thickens, and when our blood is thicker, it takes longer to move to our muscles for repair, which can cause cramping. It also means our heart has to pump harder to deliver oxygen to our organs. When our heart pumps harder, we get tired more easily. Those of us who exercise in warmer weather are at greater risk of dehydration, always have a bottle of water with you or near you exercising in warm weather.
So here are my tips to pimp up your water, to get you excited about it again and to stay hydrated!
This is for those of you who find water boring, for those of you who just like to mix things up a little every now and then....and for those of you who want to add even more goodness to your day.
Lemon is full of vitamin C so is a great help to our immune system. It also keeps our skin glowing due to the antioxidants in the vitamin C - plus all that vitamin C promotes the growth of collagen! What more could you want?!
Lemon water helps alkalise our bodies, cleanse the liver, aids digestion and detoxification, keeps us hydrated and helps lose the bloat.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, lemon water helps digestion and stomach health. It is also believed to have calling properties and can help support the gallbladder and liver functions.
And similarly, in the Ayurvedic world, lemons are also believed to promote digestive health by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes and help support regularity.
Thinly slice a lemon and add the slices to a jug of water. Or squeeze the juice of a lemon to a jug of water
Adding mint to your water gives a slight sweetness without adding sweetener. IT invigorates the senses, improves the flow of bile and helps detoxify the body.
Mint has been used in many cultures for its digestive benefits - menthol, a compound found in peppermint, relaxes the digestive tract providing relief and symptoms, especially to those suffering from IBS. It is also said to help with indigestion - this study found that peppermint oil speeds up the emptying of the stomach, which reduces the symptoms of indigestion.
Mint also helps with oral health, as peppermint has fabulous antimicrobial properties.
Like lemon, in Traditional Chinese Medicine mint is said to have cooling properties. Mint is also considered to be useful in promoting the health of the liver, lungs and large intestine and is also sometimes used to treat conditions like diarrhea and menstrual pain. And in aromatherapy, mint is helpful for those who suffer from emotional stress in their digestive system - you know that "knot in the stomach" feeling? Next time you have that, drink some mint water!
There are so many varieties of mint available, each with its own intoxicating scent and flavour. I grow a few mints - regular, spearmint and native river mint, plus I was fortunate to receive a gift this past weekend of some chocolate mint and apple mint so a little bit of all of these beautiful flavours are in this water!
Add as much mint as you like to the jug of water, crush the leaves slightly to release the oils into the water.
Cucumber is a hidden gem! They are diuretics, which means they increase urination - thus flushing out toxins, cleansing the liver and avoiding fluid retention. Cucumbers are full of nutrients, antioxidants and phytonutrients that are believed to reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
Cucumbers are 95% water bound in dietary fibre, and the water they contain is of the purest quality! It also contains silica, which is vital for strengthening our connective tissue in muscles, tendons and ligaments and also for hair and nails, plus it helps to give us brighter skin. And with 22% of our daily allowance of vitamin K in one unpeeled fruit, cucumbers help to strengthen our bones too.
The list of benefits is almost endless, it helps with sunburn, dermatitis and psoriasis, diabetes, lowering blood pressure, it's low in calories and it's delicious!
As Amanda said in our last post Summer governs the heart, small intestine, endocrine system and metabolism. Cucumbers are considered a cooling fruit in Traditional Chinese Medicine and helps to eliminate damp from the body. It can also help with night sweats and insomnia.
Slice as much cucumber as you wish and add to a jug of water. Allow to steep for 3-4 hours before drinking. The cucumber can be kept in the water for up to 24 hours. The water itself will last about 3 days. I have been filling one jug with mint, cucumber and lemon slices, leaving it for a few hours or overnight, then decanting into another jug ready to drink, then topping up with the jug with the fruit again.
These are my three favourite waters. I love them all individually or even better and a way that I'm just a little bit addicted to at the moment...mix 'em all up!
What's your favourite Pimped Up Water?