We are 70% water, when we don’t drink enough our blood becomes thick which means our heart has to work harder to pump the blood through our veins and arteries, this uses more energy and creates more wear and tear on our hearts but if our blood is slower to reach our organs like our brain it can reduce the amount of oxygen and glucose (the brains fuel) reaching our brain and this makes us feel tired. This is just a basic summary there is so much more water does in our bodies!
Blood Volume Regulation- this is one of waters most important functions. Water keeps blood flowing not to thick or the heart will have to work harder and not too thin or you won’t clot when you have a wound. Blood keep us warm and carries oxygen to important organs
Thought and Cognition or Brain Glucose Regulation – Most of our muscles and organs need oxygen and glucose to function. The brain uses about 20% of our daily glucose consumption with out enough water keeping our blood flowing we get less glucose for our brain which can make it hard to think clearly. Dehydration also causes headaches one of the reasons is because our brain isn’t getting enough glucose and oxygen, so it triggers pain responses to slow us down and reduce further dehydration.
Digestion regulation – Water, muscle tone and fiber keep food moving through our intestinal tract. Without enough water we can get constipated, this is where faeces becomes thick and hard to move through the bowels/intestines. Having adequate water, fiber and exercise ensures the passage of food flows smoothly and turns into waste matte to be excreted.
Tips to Stay Hydrated
1 Sip don’t gulp- gulping water down when we are thirsty can actually upset our stomachs so remember to sip frequently or if you are really thirsty take small sips at first and then drink more substantially
2 Hungry or thirsty? Thirst is often mistaken for hunger so if you are starving have a drink first.
3 Drink a glass of water upon waking- I know morning is generally the time for coffee but you have gone the whole night without a drink and for some of us have our mouths open which dehydrates even more. Have a big glass or half a glass if your struggling before anything and that will help you be set for the day
4 When you finish a task drink some water- eventually this will help set in your mind. Such as finish the dishes drink some water. Just get home drink some water, doing some work on the computer? Take a sip while things are loading, while your thinking or when you finish a task.
5 Some foods drinks add to hydration- herbal teas (not green as it has caffeine), unsweetened fruit juice add to hydration, foods like watermelon, berries, apples, pears and citrus add to water count
6 Watch out for dehydrating drinks- Anything with Caffeine coffee, green tea (mild), normal black tea (black means the variety not if there is milk added), energy drink really dehydrate.
7 Hydration requirements- remember certain activities need more water like exercise, breast feeding, constant air conditioning like in schools or offices.
8 Always carry a water bottle or have a glass at your workstation – It is easy to be preoccupied and think I’ll get a drink in a minute and then an hour goes by and you still haven’t gotten that drink. Remembering to have a drink with you solves that issue
9 Flavour water- water can be a bit boring adding lemon juice or a bit of other fruit juice to your water can make the whole experience easier to tolerate. I hate the taste of tap water personally but I boil my water and then cool it or filter it and I can drink it till the cow’s come home.