Many of us know we don't drink enough water - remember when you used to start your day with a glass of water, and drink 8 glasses a day? Us too! Sometimes we unintentionally fall out of good habits and need a nudge to get back on course. Consider this your nudge!
We all know that staying hydrated helps our bodies to work properly, from organ function to infection prevention and everything in between. It helps us to concentrate more and be more alert, as well as giving us a glowing complexion. Quite simply, good hydration is one of the most important cornerstones of self care.
So how can you tell if you are adequately hydrated? Listen to your body and look out for these signs...
Obvious right? But sometimes we get out of tune with our bodies and can confuse the signs for hunger with thirst. So before you reach for a snack, reach for a glass of water then wait for 10 minutes. If you really are hungry then your stomach pangs will still be there, but if it was thirst you were experiencing you’ll feel satisfied.
Your skin, your lips, your nails. They all benefit from adequate hydration and they’re often the first parts of your body to show obvious signs of dehydration, with skin that looks dry and flaking, or dull. Moisturising can help with the symptoms, improving hydration helps tackle the problem at source.
If you feel tired, or are experiencing brain fog, it may be a sign that you are dehydrated. It’s tempting to reach for caffeine or sugar to perk you up but we all know that’s a short term ‘fix’ that will make you feel even more sluggish when the effects wear off. Focusing on regular hydration rather than a short term fix will make you feel much better.
When you are dehydrated it inhibits the production of saliva in your mouth. The salivary glands help to rinse away bacteria that grows in your gums and between your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Drinking more increases saliva production and rinses away the bacteria - a double win!
Your digestive system needs to be hydrated to work at its best, so if you feel bloated or constipated, or your bowel movements aren’t as regular as they should be, maybe your body is in need of more water.
Another obvious daily check is looking at the colour of your urine. This NHS chart gives a good indication of the pale colour of urine you should be aiming for, to flush out toxins from your body and achieve optimal hydration.
1. Start each and every day with a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
2. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink regularly throughout the day.
3. Use a habit tracker to monitor your fluid intake. There are lots of apps out there or you can try the habit tracker on our wellbeing planner*.
4. Try habit stacking by always drinking a glass of water when you eat a meal, when you wake up or after your daily shower.
5. Keep a reusable water bottle* with you at all times so you can drink on the go.
6. Add some fruit to your water to mix it up a bit and give it some flavour. Citrus fruits work well, as do berries, fresh or frozen.
7. When working at your desk, refill your glass as soon as it is empty and keep it by your side.
8. Make sure there'swater on the table* at meal times, even if you have other drinks open.
9. You can get extra hydration if you eat food that has a high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, berries and celery.
10. Alternate your drinks; herbal teas and kombucha are healthy alternatives to water - as long as they don't make up all of your liquids. Plain water still reigns supreme.
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