Did you know that over 80% of Cypriots are chronically dehydrated? This means that most people are suffering from dehydration on a daily basis. They have symptoms of fatigue, lack of energy, poor skin turgor, skin tenting on the forehead, concentrated urine, decreased urine output, sunken eyes, dry mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, orthostatic blood pressure changes, and tachychardia (Sanservero, 1997).
Why can someone have so many problems from not drinking enough water? Simple. It’s because water is the largest simple component of the body and therefore it has many functions. To focus on a few main aspects, water is essential to the physiological processes of digestion, absorption, and excretion. It also plays a key role in the structure and function of the circulatory system and acts as a transport medium for nutrients and all body substances. Finally, water helps to maintain body temperature (Mahan, Escott-Stump, 2000). What does all this mean? It means that without water, one cannot efficiently absorb the necessary nutrients needed for proper nutrition and health, that he or she will have gastrointestinal issues and suffer from chronic constipation, and it means that he or she will not efficiently burn fat when trying to lose weight.
Unfortunately, most people will not even think to drink water until they are thirsty. Thirst is the body’s last desperate call for water. It is recommended that a person does NOT wait until they are thirsty to drink. Rather, one should drink water consistently throughout the day. In fact, in a lot of cases of chronic dehydration, the thirst mechanism actually switches off and the body provides a hunger signal instead. This means that one feels hungry when in fact, he or she is thirsty. This leads to a person eating more calories (to get water from food instead of regular drinking water) than he or she needs and results in weight gain.
Usually, the most simple solutions or ideas are the most effective. In this case, the simple act of drinking water on a daily basis can help one to have more energy, to burn fat, to be well-nourished, and to have good gastrointestinal health. Typically, a person need 35 ml of water per 1 kg of body weight (around 2.5 L per day) to be well hydrated. Obviously, athletes or people living in extreme temperature conditions need more.
So, are you ready to change your life with the simple act of drinking water? Here are some tips to get you started:
* Keep bottles of water available in all places – home, on the desk at work, in the car. This will remind you to always drink water!
* If you don’t like the taste of water, add small amounts of fresh lemon or orange juice. There are also low-calorie lemonades or iced teas you can add to water to help with the taste.
* Don’t drink your calories! Avoid juices, sodas, lemon squashes, and alcohol and replace it with water. One cup of these mentioned drinks can add 100-300 calories to your day. If you are trying to lose weight, simply replacing these drinks with water can help!
* If you currently don’t drink water at all, set small, attainable goals to increase your water intake. For example, start with 2 glasses per day per week, then increase to 4 glasses per day per week, etc. This way it doesn’t seem like such a big change.
Try drinking more water for the next month and see how it goes! I promise that it will change your life!