VitaJab

Wellness Centre

Drinking enough water is the cheapest, easiest, fastest and most effective way to improve your health.

Fatigue

Hydration – A simple and easy way to improve your health

Why?

Drinking enough water (being hydrated) is the cheapest, easiest, fastest and most effective way to improve your health. Without water, put simply you will die; water is the most essential nutrient for health, is present in every cell in the body and involved in almost every biological process necessary for wellness and health of the human body.

Considering that 50-70% of the body and up to 85% of the brain are made up of water, the significance of hydration on sustaining good health is vital. The fact that a dehydration level of just 3% can reduce physical and mental performance by up to 30% demonstrates just how influential water is on our bodies. The initial warning signs of dehydration can include and can lead to; dry mouth, thirst, headaches, tiredness and lethargy (European Hydration Institute).

How much do we need?

According to the Institute of Medicine (American) the minimum total daily fluid intake for the average male should be 3.7 litres per day; 3 litres from liquid and the remaining from foods such as fruits and vegetables. For women these values are 2.7 litres total with 2.2 litres being required from fluids.

These are average values that do not take into account the weight of individuals. A formula that can be used to determine how much water you should consume daily is 40ml for every kilogram you weigh. For example, an 80kg male should consume around (minimum) 3.2 litres daily.

The best way to assess your level of hydration is by observing the colour of your urine. Your urine should be clear in appearance, perhaps with a slight tinge of yellow. If it’s cloudy and dark yellow you are very dehydrated. If it’s somewhere in-between you should probably have a top-up of water over the next couple of hours.

What’s the best way to hydrate?

It might seem that small sips throughout the day would be the most effective way to adequately take in fluids, however research shows that consuming large quantities at a time will accelerate gastric emptying into the intestine; thus increasing the speed and efficiency of delivery of nutrients, sodium and fluids into the cells. It’s like shouting as opposed to whispering to your body to get digestion and absorption moving. The limit at which this becomes counterproductive, however, is around 900ml.

Try and hydrate as much as you can during the day and taper off in the evening to avoid waking repeatedly and impacting on the quality of your sleep.

Water, just water?

When eating a varied and balanced low GL diet our bodies will be receiving all the nutrients and electrolytes it needs to adequately absorb water and hydrate our cells. There are a variety of energy drinks, sports drinks and other drinks available in the shops, but in truth most offer no benefit compared to water. In fact they probably provide excessive amounts of things we don’t need, such as sugar and sweeteners (see our article on energy). Humans have evolved over thousands of years requiring just water and perhaps, with the exception of a coffee in the mornings, it’s all we need today to lead optimally healthy lives.