Drink all your water

Drink all your water
"The human body is composed of some seventy per cent water by weight. A dead man, surely, no longer requires that water. "

A dry coincidence?

Everybody knows water is vital, I would say it is the real elixir of life (at least on Earth). Water is a vital nutrient for our bodies and is essential to all cells, playing a central roles in major mechanisms: from Temperature control, to metabolism & waste management.

Even if its importance is well known, up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated and it seem like on average most of the world population is below the optimum hydration level.

Hydration levels worldwide from WaterLogic

The consequences of dehydration are many and impact starts even with mild dehydration (1-2%) with significant impact on the cognitive performance, becoming fatal with body water loss of 10% or higher.

Looking at the statistics on dehydration the most worrying part is that is seems like we are chronically dehydrated, which has long term impact in health and is associated with significant impairments in people of all ages and linked with many of the preventable conditions and chronic disease that plague our times like obesity, cardiovascular disease[6,7,8,9,10, 11].

Dry coincidence?

How much?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends that adult males consume 2.5L of water per day, with adult females recommended to consume 2.0L.

The EFSA assumes that 20% of fluid intake is from food, with 80% coming from drinks.

Note that these guidelines are based on required water consumption in temperate climate and moderate physical activity. If you live in a hot or humid climate, or do intense physical activity, it is recommended to increase your water consumption beyond these guidelines.

Can you get too much of a good thing?

The simple answer is yes, as with all things... Although it is rare, people can drink too much water and it can be fatal!

You may have heard stories of athletes that die after drinking too much water during a sporting event. This happens because their kidneys could get rid of the excess water leading to the sodium content in their blood becoming diluted with occasional fatal consequences.  This condition is called hyponatremia and it is a "good idea" that you avoid it...

When to drink

Thirst is the most obvious sign of dehydration.

That said, you actually become dehydrated before you feel thirst, so it is wise to rely on more than thirst, specially if you:

Others indicators of dehydration are:

  • Feeling Tired, lightheaded, confused or dizzy
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
  • Urinating less than usual

What to drink

Water, of course!!!

You can obviously recourse to to flavoured waters, sparkling water, fruit juices, tea & coffee, but there is no beating the raw stuff!

Take the "Pee test"!

One reliable way to know if you are properly hydrated is to have a look at the colour of your pee when you go to the toilet... gross I know, but effective!

Ideally you want your pee to be a pale shade of yellow. If your pee is dark, and even smelly, you should be downing some of the old H2O down the gullet!!!

If, otherwise, your pee is close to or transparent you are over hydrated. Please refrain from drinking water as you may be taxing your kidney and risking hyponatremia.

The chart below gives you an idea of what you should be aiming at... I speak in terms of colours obviously, when you are at it please try to aim at the inside of the toilet!!!

How to improve your hydration level

Here are some simple tips that can help you improve your hydration level:

  1. Become aware of your bodily thirst signals, and how you feel when you are dehydrated (and when you are hydrated)
  2. Do the pee test & integrate it in your loo routine, over time you will incorporate this added hydration metric to help you optimise your hydration level
  3. Buy a reusable bottles and keep them at your desk, car, kitchen - make it easy for you to access water;
  4. Add more fruits and vegetables into your diet, these will ensure you inherently consume a good part of your water through your food consumption;
  5. Limit alcohol consumption.

The final drop: A case for optimal hydration

As you have seen there is a strong case for optimising your hydration level, it keeps off chronic disease, improves general health, increases cognitive performance, enhances mood, and many other benefits that were too much to list on a short post (like baby soft skin).

Want to know how you can improve your health sustainably by taking simple but sure steps? Join Kognitas to start your journey!

Sources:

  1. The Water in You: Water and the Human Body | link
  2. Adult Dehydration | link
  3. Human hydration: are we drinking enough? link
  4. Consequences of dehydration | link
  5. Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men | link
  6. Inadequate Hydration, BMI, and Obesity Among US Adults: NHANES 2009-2012 | link
  7. Water, other fluids, and fatal coronary heart disease: the Adventist Health Study | link
  8. The importance of good hydration for the prevention of chronic diseases | link
  9. Underhydration Is Associated with Obesity, Chronic Diseases, and Death Within 3 to 6 Years in the U.S. Population Aged 51–70 Years | link
  10. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents | link
  11. Dehydration in older people: a systematic review of the effects of dehydration on health outcomes, healthcare costs and cognitive performance | link
  12. Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water | link
  13. Influence of age on thirst and fluid intake | link
  14. Dehydration | link
  15. What Does It Mean When Dehydration Becomes Long-Term and Serious?| link
  16. Hyponatremia | link
  17. Water, Hydration and Health | link