When the heat is on it’s more important than ever to stay adequately hydrated. Indeed, water makes up over two-thirds of your body – it lubricates your joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps your skin nice and healthy. Research suggests that staying sufficiently hydrated can also help to prevent a wide range of contemporary diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. In this article you’ll learn about the symptoms of dehydration and find out how to stay hydrated throughout your day. And you’ll discover a delicious selection of healthy superfood alternatives to water to boot!
Symptoms of dehydration
When the water content of your body is reduced, even by just a small amount, it upsets the balance of minerals in your body. This ultimately has an impact on the way your body functions.
Early warning signs of dehydration include, but are not limited to:
- Dry mouth, lips and eyes
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Reduced need to pass urine
- Muscle cramps
- Impaired vision
- Lack of concentration
Tips on how to stay hydrated
In order to remain sufficiently hydrated you must ensure that you are achieving your minimum daily water intake. To calculate your minimum daily water intake in litres simply perform the following calculation:
Multiply your body weight in kilos by 0.44 and then divide by 10
Thus, if you happen to weigh 75 kilos for example, you must drink around: (75 x 0.44) / 10 = 3.3 litres of water per day. The table below provides a handy illustration per weight class of your recommended minimum daily water intake:
|Weight (kg)||Water per day (litres)|
This might seem like a huge amount of water – but there are other ways to obtain water that count towards your daily water consumption. You can additionally boost your fluid intake by:
- Consuming plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, which are a natural source of water.
- Keeping a bottle of pure, spring water, or some healthy superfood alternatives to water, to hand.
- Increasing your fluid intake when exercising or whenever the temperature rises.
- Setting up regular prompts on your smart phone, tablet or PC, to remind you to drink regularly.
- Adding fresh fruit and vegetables, such as strawberries or cucumber to a glass of pure spring water to make it more appetising.
Why tap or bottled water is not necessarily the answer
Unfortunately tap water is not always the healthiest option – although UK tap water has to meet strict requirements, accidents still occur on an annual basis. Accidents in which water unfit for human consumption is supplied to thousands of households. There are also legitimate concerns about traces of pesticides and other chemicals, in the water supply, which can damage health in excessive quantities. For example, EU regulations limit lead concentrations in tap water to 50 micrograms per litre, whilst the Medical Research Council claims that there are, in fact, no safe levels for lead.
There are even some questions over many of the ingredients that are routinely added to the UK water supply during treatment in order to make it safe, such as:
- Chlorine – which kills bacteria and parasites (although many are now resistant, including the bacteria, M. Avium paratuberculosis, which causes chronic intestinal inflammation and may trigger Crohn’s disease cause). Despite being highly toxic, there are currently no maximum levels of chlorine in EU drinking water regulations.
- Fluoride – which helps to strengthen children’s teeth, but can cause fluorosis, an unsightly discolouration of the teeth, in large amounts.
- Aluminium sulphate – many water companies still treat their water with this heavy metal. Excess amounts of aluminium can poison your internal organs and settle in the brain and bones. It has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Many mistakenly believe that bottled mineral water from the supermarket is a sensible substitute for tap water. However, around 40 percent of all bottled water is actually just tap water. Furthermore, many types of bottled water contain unhealthy ingredients, just like tap water. An American study recently revealed that one third of more than 100 surveyed brands of bottled water contained toxins, such as arsenic and carcinogens, which in some cases even exceeded the maximum amounts allowed in tap water.
Four healthy superfood alternatives to water
The finest alternative to tap water is pure ‘spring water’ – water that has been naturally filtered by layers of soil over hundreds to thousands of years and has not been exposed to pollution. Spring water is rich in beneficial minerals, including:
- Bicarbonate – which regulates your body’ pH levels, helps to prevent kidney stones and reduces fatigue.
- Sodium – natural salt, which helps to regulate your body’s fluid balance
- Calcium – which supports muscle growth and is necessary for strong teeth and bones, as well as healthy brain function.
- Magnesium – which plays an integral role in energy production.
- Sulphur – which has a healing effect on your skin and can help in the treatment of skin conditions, such as psoriasis and dermatitis.
In addition there are a number of healthy superfood alternatives to spring water that can help you to maintain your fluid levels throughout the day. Four of these are listed below.
1. Coconut juice
Coconut juice, which shouldn’t be confused with coconut milk (a thicker drink made from diluting coconut flesh with water), is tapped directly from fresh, green, organic coconuts. Not only is it exceptionally delicious, it’s also loaded with beneficial nutrients, such as B complex vitamins and vitamin C, the minerals, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium, the trace elements, zinc, selenium, iodine, sulphur and manganese, as well as amino acids, antioxidants and phytonutrients. In addition, coconut water is isotonic, which means that it contains similar concentrations of salt and natural sugar to your body and can therefore help to prevent dehydration and recover fluid balance after exercise and sport.
Kombucha is an extremely thirst-quenching variety of tea that’s typically flavoured with fruit and herbs and, as a fermented product, is brimming with probiotic cultures. Once favoured by Chinese warlords and emperors for its powerful ability to boost energy and aid recovery, it’s still considered a valued source of Chi (the revitalising life energy that harmonises body, mind and soul) in traditional Chinese medicine. More recently, fermented products, such as Kombucha, have been linked to several health benefits, including strengthened immunity (thanks to the friendly that bacteria that it introduces to your digestive system), improved digestion and a reduced risk of allergies.
3. Green juices and smoothies
Although green juices and smoothies can be purchased from all good health stores, you can also have a go at making them yourself by blending a small amount of spring water with your favourite fresh fruit and your choice of supergreens – a special variety of superfood that is instantly recognisable via its powerful flavour and striking green colour, and includes organic kale, broccoli and rocket, as well as supergreen supplements, such as organic spirulina powder, organic chlorella powder, organic wheatgrass powder and organic barley grass powder. Supergreens are loaded with valuable nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and the naturally occurring plant pigment, chlorophyll, which transform your usual spring water into an infinitely more salutary sup. In fact, a diet high in supergreens can help to lower your risk of obesity and disease and may even extend the life expectancy of you and your family.
4. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas have been enjoyed as a healthy alternative to water for centuries – some, such as yerba mate tea, are renowned for their ability to suppress the appetite and thus aid in weight loss, whilst others, such as organic matcha green tea powder, are thought to strengthen immunity, boost energy and strength, relieve stress and gently detox. Regardless of which herbal tea you choose to rehydrate with, always prepare by steeping in pure, spring water.