Dehydration: Dr Phillipa outlines the main symptoms
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Do you know how to drink water? It seems a silly question, but hydration is something of a science, and there is a counterproductive way of drinking water. More isn’t always better. Express.co.uk is joined by a hydration expert to explain how you should be drinking water.
How much water should you be drinking?
Your body is around 60 percent water, and as you lose water throughout the day in the form of perspiration and urination, you need to replace those lost fluids.
While, it’s really important for your health to drink the recommended amount of water every day (eight glasses of water, or around two litres), it’s not just how much you drink that matters.
An equally important question is: are you drinking water the right way?
Yes, there is a ‘wrong way’ of drinking water.
Chris Sanders, hydration expert for Radnor Hills infusions, explains: “Your kidneys can process up to 800ml of water in an hour.
“If you drink water in excess of this, it will simply pass through your kidneys without being reabsorbed later. In the worst case, it can lead to swelling.”
So, while it has rightly been emphasised you need to drink around 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, chugging a load of watar in quick succession isn’t going to do you much good.
Drinking any more than that is either pointless or could actually do you some harm.
Another good measure of whether you’re drinking too much water is how often you are peeing. Chris says you should be urinating between four and six times a day.
What are the dangers of dehydration?
Dehydration can be the cause behind many health complaints, including headaches and low energy.
Chris says: “Dehydration means your body is losing more fluids than it can take in, if you do not drink enough fluids, you may have a dry mouth or get a headache during the early stages.
“If your body continues to lose too much fluid, you may experience other symptoms of dehydration such as fatigue or light-headedness.
“In serious cases of dehydration, you will need to see a doctor immediately if you have a high temperature, vomiting or diarrhoea.”
How can you stay hydrated?
In contrast to dehydration, being properly hydrated will make you feel like your best self.
Chris says: “Keeping your body fully hydrated with water can provide so many health benefits and can help boost your mood and increase your brain function.
“Drink enough water will also help your body regulate temperature, flush out toxins and keep your organs functioning properly.”
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These are Chris’s top tips for staying hydrated:
Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
Chris says: “Even if you might not feel thirsty when you wake up, replenishing your fluids after eight hours of not consuming any water is optimal to flush the body and keep the organs going.
“Drinking two to three glasses of water right helps with moving the lower bowels for regularity in the morning.”
Snack on foods with high water content
Some foods, especially fruits, are full of water and can help you to hit your hydration goal.
Chris says: “Some of the most water-rich foods include watermelon, lettuce, celery, apples, peaches, blueberries, and strawberries.
“Foods that are high in water content not only have a lot of fluids, but they also have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which you can use to improve your health.”
Drink electrolytes after working out
When you work out, you lose more water than usual through sweat, so you need to drink more to get your hydration levels back up.
Chris says: “When working out, you are losing water rapidly, so you have to keep drinking water before, during and after your workout.
“For athletes, sports drinks that contain additional carbs and electrolytes help them rehydrate and improve performance.”
Cut back on fizzy drinks
Drinks with added sugars don’t count towards your daily fluid intake, the NHS says.
So if you prefer a can of pop to a glass of water, find ways to cut down on sugary drinks while getting your fluids.
Chris recommends sparkling or flavoured water instead.
He says: “Drinks with a high sugar content can actually dehydrate you more, even though you feel like the thirst has been quenched.
“Carbonated water is delicious, but not every carbonated water has to be regular sparkling water.
“Carbonated products with natural flavourings are available, such as mango and pineapple and lemon and mint with no sugar whatsoever.
“Flavouring your water at home is also easy to do, just drop a couple of berries and citrus fruits into your water.”
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