In this “nutrition works” series I will be giving you five facts that you can read and digest in five minutes or less. This week five good reasons to stay hydrated.
- Water is essential for keeping your bowels healthy. If you’re dehydrated than your guts will suck water up from your food waste, leaving you with hard poo that’s difficult to pass. Ouch!
- All the chemical reactions that occur in our body to make bone, tissue and energy require water. You simply can’t build and maintain strong muscles and bones or get the energy you need for day to day activities without being properly hydrated
- Water is also essential for sending electrical messages between our cells. These messages affect our ability to move, see and think. So if you want to be sharp witted and agile, make sure you get enough fluid.
- If you are dehydrated your body may confuse this with hunger and you could find yourself reaching for the munchies when all you really need is glass of water. If you think you’re hungry between meals try having a glass of water and waiting 20 minutes or so. You may find that this is what’s needed to keep hunger at bay.
- When it’s hot or if we’ve been exercising then we sweat. If it’s really hot or if we exercise hard then we can sweat so much that we become dehydrated. This puts a strain on our heart, which will already be under extra pressure because of the increased blood flow to our skin to help us cool down. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which is a very serious thing. Symptoms include nausea, irritability, headache, dizziness and confusion. Children and the elderly are at greater risk because their bodies are not as good at regulating temperature and because they can be reliant on others for access to fluids. So take special care of your children and older people and make sure they drink regularly – even if they insist that they are not thirsty.