Believe it or not there are actually have four macronutrients despite many would swear by the idea that there are three. Carbs, proteins, fats and of course water.
Water is essential to maintain many of our daily physiological functions such as; transporting nutrients around the body and waste products to the kidney for excretion, ensuring that the body’s processes are maintained within their narrow ranges (in scientific terms that’s homeostatic control) and acting as a shock absorber between joints and bones. When we are in a hypohydrated state (often referred to as dehydrated) our bodies are unable to function optimally.
Hypohydration can cause dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, irritability, confusion and reduced brain functioning. You can imagine that over a prolonged period of time this can be potentially dangerous and our water intake is definitely something to be aware of. What we now also know is that hypohydration can often lead you to overeat as well as you can easily mistake your thirst signals for hunger.
Ever eaten a snack and realised you’re not satisfied so you drink some water instead? Yeah, your body was simply trying to alert you of it’s water requirements. You also often lose more water than you might think. It’s not just when you pass urine. Water is also lost through sweat, faeces and through your breath too. Equally, you don’t just gain through the bottle you’re sipping from. Food and metabolism can also account for some water gains too.
It’s essential to stay hydrated at the best of times but especially as summer is officially in full swing it’s time you up your water intake. You should be aiming for around 2L per day (although this will change depending on your workout regime). Below I’ve listed some top tips for staying hydrated.
- CARRY YOUR WATER:
This might sound so basic but ever got to 5pm and realised you’ve barely sipped all day? Carrying your water will encourage you to sip regularly. Your body is also much more likely to utilise the water if you sip regularly throughout the day rather than drink a whole load at one time.
- EAT YOUR FRUIT AND VEGGIES:
Fruits and vegetables naturally have a high water content which means that by opting for these with your lunch or as a snack you’re helping your body stay hydrated. Foods such as cucumbers, tomatoes and celery are high in water so change your snacks and switch up your salads. Of course, make sure you’re eating a balance of energy dense foods alongside this too!
- SWITCH UP YOUR COFFEE:
Sorry honey, your 5 daily coffees don’t contribute to your 2L of water per day. Coffee contributes to dehydration due to it’s caffeine content (which acts as a diuretic) so ensure you’re topping up with water or herbal teas instead.
- RECORD YOUR WATER INTAKE:
Whilst you’re getting into consuming your 2L daily download a water app (of which there are many, although I recommend Drink Water) which allows you to set regular reminders to get gulping.
- ALCOHOL, WATER, ALCOHOL:
Unfortunately alcohol is another key contributor to hypohydration so ensure (which will also contribute to the terrible hangovers) so ensure you’re drinking a glass of water between each drink. Your body and your head will thank you for it the next day!
Whilst water is a vital macronutrient like anything there’s such a thing as too much. Consuming too much water can disrupt the electrolyte balance of your blood and can cause hyponatremia, a condition where your sodium levels are too low. Hyponatremia can lead to nausea and vomiting and in severe cases seizures, confusion and loss of consciousness. Drink responsibly!