With the heatwave in full swing, dehydration symptoms are imminent. Doctor Naomi Newman-Beinart gives us the lowdown on the importance of H2O and why we should be drinking more of it
It is sweltering in the U.K. right now and we are not a country that is prepared for this kind of heat. Am I right?
You would imagine that many of us are spending these summer days fanning ourselves and reaching for a cool drink to stay hydrated, but did you know that recent research found that 90 percent of people in the UK are not drinking the NHS recommended six to eight glasses (around 1.5 litres) of fluids per day?
90 percent of people in the UK are not drinking the NHS recommended six to eight glasses
The NHS recommend that we should actually increase this amount in the hotter weather or when exercising, but shockingly, some Brits are still only drinking 250ml of water per day.
What are we drinking instead?
Tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and juice are firm favourites. But tea and coffee are classed as diuretics because they make the body produce urine more quickly than other drinks. Plus, fizzy drinks and juices can be high in sugar, which can cause tooth damage and weight gain.
These drinks are fine in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet, but they are no substitute for the elixir of life – water.
Two-thirds of your body is made up of water
Two-thirds of your body is made up of water so it’s pretty clear that nothing beats water when it comes to hydration, and as an added bonus, water won’t damage your teeth (or your bank account) or cause you to pile on the pounds.
Does pH matter?
Drinking water should be an important part of your day, especially in hot weather or if you are exercising.
Tap water is free and available almost everywhere, so take advantage of it and keep a water bottle with you whenever you can.
If you don’t like the taste of tap water – many people don’t – then another option is bottled still or sparkling water. This is obviously not as cheap as tap water, but some people prefer the taste of spring water, and it’s still a healthier option than other drinks out there such as tea, coffee and fizzy drinks.
In the UK, you will find that your local tap water is around pH7 (neutral), with slight variations depending on area and mineral content. Soft drinks, coffee and juices are more acidic at around pH3.5 to 5.
A 2016 study comparing hydration after exercise found that those drinking alkaline water had lower blood viscosity (meaning the thickness and stickiness of your blood) than those drinking standard water, which suggests that alkaline water provides better hydration than neutral pH water.
So other than tap water, where can you get water with a higher pH level? You can now buy Actiph water, which is ionised and alkaline with pH9, perfect for those who live an active lifestyle, as the higher pH will ensure they are hydrated effectively.
Most importantly, water is the most simple solution to numerous woes, including low energy and mood, lack of focus and concentration, fatigue and a lack of motivation during exercise.
So, if you’re thinking about reaching for your fourth cup of coffee or fizzy drink of the day, don’t drink it until you have checked out these the below five signs that you may not be drinking the recommended amount of water per day:
Drinking enough water has been shown to improve mild headaches, so surely it is worth remembering to hydrate to avoid a headache?
#2 Difficulty concentrating
Being dehydrated can make it hard to focus, making work and home life much harder work than they need to be. Reaching for a bottle of water is an easy fix for this.
#3 Low energy and low mood
Even mild dehydration can make you feel low in every way. It might be hard to motivate yourself to drink water when you’re feeling low.
So keep a bottle of water next to you as a reminder to take a sip every now and again.
Drinking water is one of the easiest remedies for constipation. You may need more fibre and exercise, but always start with the simplest solution – you never know, it may be just what the doctor ordered…
#5 Exercise is more difficult than usual
Research shows that losing 2% of your body’s water can make you feel more fatigued and less motivated during and after exercise.
Don’t forget that you may need to up your water intake when exercising, especially in hot weather.
How can you make drinking water more exciting?
Some people just don’t like water and others just forget to drink it. So, what can you do to make sure that you are staying hydrated?
You need to get into the habit of sipping water throughout the day and once it becomes part of your routine, it will seem like a normal part of your daily life.
Try any of these ideas below to help you increase the amount of water you drink and stay hydrated:
1. Have a glass of water as your first drink each morning. If you are a fan of an early morning workout, try sipping on Actiph pH9 water – it’s shown to hydrate faster and ideal for people who struggle to drink enough water.
2. Top up on hydrating herbal tea. Unlike black tea or coffee that act as a diuretic (causing further dehydration) tea bags made with herbs, flowers and fruits, such as berry, spearmint or chamomile that are added to hot water make the water taste great and are good for your health and hydration.
If you want a healthy fruity sugar free drink, try infusing Pukka Blackcurrant Beauty either and drink either hot or cold.
3. Get fruity. If you don’t like the taste of water, add slices of lemon, orange or lime to jazz it up.
4. Again, if you don’t like the taste of plain water, go sparkling. It can be hard for people to get enough water, but it is essential to keeping the body functioning properly – almost all of the major body systems depend on water to function.
For those who find it a chore or feel plain water can be a bit boring, fizzing up your tap water using SodaStream’s sparkling water makers is a great way to make getting your fluid fix a bit more exciting.
5. Don’t forget to hydrate. Set a reminder on your phone so that you are prompted to drink water at certain times of the day.
6. Get juicing. Vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, watermelon carrots are delicious when made into a fresh juice, and also really good to boost your vitamin and mineral intake.
Fruits and vegetables also contain water, so consuming them fresh or whole will up your hydration.