By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
So many of us know that we should be drinking more water, but do we? Perhaps if we have a better understanding of why we need to drink more water, we may be more inclined to be more diligent with our consumption. It is estimated that the average adult only drinks 32 oz (1 L) of water per day which is half of the standard recommendation for adequate hydration. Many health ailments can occur with only mild dehydration of 1%.
Often during a dietary change, as a nutritionist I am constantly reminding people to drink the recommended amount of water to ensure they experience all the health benefits of the plan. Without drinking the suggested amount of water, you are more likely to feel a whole host of symptoms that won’t encourage you to keep going.
So here I wanted to list the major benefits you’ll experience once you start getting your hydration levels up!
This is due to the fact that water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate for up to 60 minutes following the consumption of 16 oz (500 ml) of water. This may be equivalent to 100 extra calories per day that can be burnt just by making sure you’re drinking enough water.
Drinking water 30 minutes before meals is the most effective. It will support satiety so that you eat fewer calories. In another study, people who drank 16 oz. (500 ml) of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks.
Our brain is also largely water and as you can imagine, dehydrate that brain and you will experience pain, discomfort and poor cognition to boot. In a study it was shown that dehydration degraded mood, increased perception of task difficulty, lowered concentration, and headaches resulted from 1.36% dehydration in females.
For any headaches, before you do anything else hit that glass of water or 2 and if this doesn’t fix it fast enough then add a few dabs of pure peppermint oil on your temples, at the base of your skull and over the area that particularly hurts. Dilute this in a little coconut oil or olive oil if you have sensitive skin.
Even a slight drop of 1-2% in hydration has been found to cause poor mood and lack of motivation. I’m sure you have all been there. Even a slight decrease in cellular hydration and things will start to dip.
This can be caused from a number of things including irregular blood sugar levels, blood pressure changes, fatigue, inner ear disturbances and Meniere’s disease, but dehydration can also cause dizziness.
Muscle mass contains about 70-75% water so when this level of cellular hydration reduces even by 2-3% there are symptoms that can become quite uncomfortable such as fatigue, aches and pains, muscular spasms and cramps and reduced muscle performance. Where there is lack of water, exercise becomes more difficult as the body temperature control is effected along with fatigue. Keep those water levels up to improve your motivation and physical energy for increased exercise performance.
As they say, by the time you feel thirsty mild dehydration of about 1-2% has already occurred along with symptoms. In one study it was demonstrated that women suffered dehydration symptoms faster, and with mild dehydrations came fatigue with lowered energy.
Constipation can occur due to lack of water. As the stool needs lubrication through the bowel, water has a very important role to play. When there is a short supply of water, the bowel may be the last organ to get enough so if you’re feeling sluggish then drink a few extra servings of water and get moving! Remember the more fiber you consume the more fluid you need.
Keeping well hydrated is the best anti-aging remedy around, if the skin is well hydrated the face appears less wrinkled, so drink up!
With increased dilution of excretory metabolites and minerals through the kidneys this could reduce the occurrence of experiencing kidney stones and keeping those kidneys nice and healthy.