Being well hydrated is essential for optimal body function. We could not survive more than a few days without fluid and this should make it clear how important water is. Breathing alone, uses a quarter of the body’s water.
Water is essential for keeping the body youthful and for maintaining healthy, vibrant-looking skin. Staying well hydrated also prevents premature ageing.
To get a better understanding of how dehydration leads to premature wrinkles, think about dried fruit: after all the water has been dried from the grape it becomes a dry, wrinkly raison. The same thing may happen to the skin if we allow ourselves to be constantly dehydrated. (Click here for some amazing anti-ageing tips.)
Symptoms of Dehydration
Most are unaware of how dehydration leads to health-related disorders. An insufficient supply of water creates problems in all areas of the body. When thirsty for water, the body automatically conserves that which it already has; leaving less to be utilised by the cells. This causes dehydration.
A lack of water can show up in the body in many ways: externally as wrinkly or tissue-like skin, dry mouth, lips and eyes. Mild dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, brain fog and tiredness. It can also lead to muscle weakness and lack of stamina. Ongoing dehydration causes constipation, problems with the the kidneys, liver, muscles and joints.
Caffeine and alcohol are strong diuretics. Their diuretic effect encourages water to flush out of the body. So, if we drink little else, other than coffee or alcohol, it may produce dehydration-related health complications.
One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. On feeling tired, many pop the kettle on and have a cup of coffee. By consuming caffeine they hope for an instant energy boost, not realizing caffeine purges fluid and can lead to greater fatigue!
Hunger is often a cry from the body for water. Before you reach for a snack, to quell a mid-afternoon hunger pang, drink a large glass of water first. If it was thirst behind the pang, the appetite will subside straight away. If not, the belly grumbles will soon be back.
Another way we lose water is through sweating. Your body is constantly working and thus losing fluid. Even whilst you sleep, tissues and cells are being repaired and regenerated. You may not be moving physically, but as your body is still working, you can sweat throughout the night. Peri-menopausal and menopausal women are at greater risk of dehydration as intense night-sweats become a regular affair.
During the 8 to 10 hours sleep-time, a huge amount of water is lost through sweat and body maintenance, which is not being replaced. Upon rising, the first thing we do is visit the bathroom for more fluid elimination. Then, to make matters worse, the first thing we reach for in the morning is caffeine… and the cycle begins again. This is not to suggest you give up your morning cuppa, but it would be wiser to rehydrate with a pint of water first.
Hydration Helps Fat-Burning
Drinking plenty of water also encourages your body to burn fat when you exercise and here’s why: Because muscle contains more water than fat, when dehydrated your body will break down muscle to use as energy during vigorous exercise. In fact, muscles contain 75 percent water, fat contains only 10 percent. The body’s first choice for fuel, after glycogen, is fat. However, if dehydrated the body chooses the best source of accessible water and opts to use muscle for energy. Staying hydrated prevents this happening.
Drinking plenty of water encourages fat-burning, which means a leaner and healthier body.
How Can We Tell We Are Dehydrated?
The best way to know if you are drinking enough water is by checking the colour of your wee. A hydrated body produces clear urine. The darker the urine the more dehydrated and acidic the body is.
It is recommended to drink 8 large glasses of pure water a day, just to replenish what’s lost through sweating and urination, etc. However, as the inner workings of each body and people’s lifestyles are so different, for some 8 glasses of water is not nearly enough.
Dr F Batmanghelidj’s M.D., a pioneer in water therapy and best-selling author of: ‘The Body’s Many Cries For Water’, recommends 50 ounces of water for every 100 pounds of body weight; this is on top of what you get from your food.
It should be noted that if you drink a lot of water you should also consume high quality mineral salts (such as pink Himalayan Salt) to ensure your electrolytes are replaced. (Click here or here for more details)