If I could recommend you do ONE thing for your health this new year, it would be…
Wow – just one thing you say?!
Yep! Now this may seem a little bold, even a little simplistic but here it is:
Ummmm, Bianca, did you really just say that? I promise you, I drink plenty.
- I drink a cup of coffee (or two) in the morning – and that’s made with water.
- I drink tea around 10am.
- Occasionally, I’ll have an orange juice or a soda, but that’s only a treat. I know it has sugar in it.
- Otherwise, I have a bottle that I carry with me all day.
Not bad, not bad but is it enough? NOPE.
Why? Because water is the most common nutritional deficiency!
In fact, did you know that the body is 55-60% water? And water keeps all of our internal processes going, like enabling energy production by delivering oxygen to the cells, transporting nutrients, cushioning the bones and joints, regulating our temp, removing wastes and flushing toxins…just to name a few!
So how do we know how much to drink each day?
With this simple equation:
Your bodyweight (in kg) divided by 30 = liters p/day
62 kg (female) / 30 = 2.0667 liters
And yes, this means that the bigger (taller, heavier) one is, the more one needs to drink.
So what about all those diuretic beverages you’re drinking?
Why are they important? Because they dehydrate you further, meaning more water consumption is required to balance them out.
The following is a list of the most common diuretics that people drink on a daily basis:
- Tea (even some herbal are diuretics such as peppermint)
- Hot chocolate (cacao contains caffeine and it usually has added sugar)
So naturally, the best solution is to limit these beverages and drink water alone.
Noooooo, not my precious coffee!!
I’ll admit, I love my morning coffee ritual and on the odd occasion, I’ll have a glass of wine. So, to make sure I’m hydrated, I do the following:
- Upon waking, I firstly consume x3 glasses of warm water (I find warm much easier to drink).
- I add salt, around 2 or 3 pinches per glass (I’ll explain this later).
A couple of side notes:
- You should be evacuating your bowels each morning and the water/salt aids this. (A lack of evacuation or incomplete/difficult evacuation is a sign of constipation often caused by dehydration. You shouldn’t need coffee to aid this).
- Check out your pee! Most people go upon waking. Check out how yellow it is. Very yellow = dehydrated. Drink a couple of glasses of water and you’ll see when you go again, the colour should be much more clear.
- Once hydrated, have your coffee.
- Drink water immediately after your coffee (you’ll notice that all good cafes will serve water with coffee, this was something I noticed in Italy too).
So post coffee, how does one ensure adequate hydration takes place?
For each cup (of diuretic), drink 1.5-2 cups of water
Again, do the pee check. Bright yellow = dehydrated. Be sure to hydrate, BEFORE you feel really thirsty.
So coffee is my one and only diuretic beverage and the rest of the day, I drink (and carry with me) water. I encourage everyone to buy and carry a reusable bottle of water so they don’t have to buy water and waste (and drink in) all that plastic. I use Kleen Kanteen (no affiliate link) and I love it because it’s insulated and keeps my liquids hot or warm ALL day. So awesome.
What are some other reasons you may need to increase your water (and electrolyte) intake?
- You exercise a lot
- You live in a hot climate
- You visit the sauna frequently
Basically anything that makes you sweat more, requires you to intake more water (and electrolytes).
And what about the addition of salt to water that I mentioned before?
Eating a low carb diet and preparing 98% of my meals means that I don’t have much, if any added salt to my food. Snacking and eating packaged foods are rare and those that I do consume from time to time, nuts for example, are not salted, they are raw (and preferably soaked).
Am I afraid of taking in too much salt?
Definitely not. Salt contains extremely important minerals/electrolytes that are involved in a number of really important functions. Electrolytes maintain our blood pH as well as controlling the water that moves between the cells. They carry an electrical current (so conduct electricity when in water) and help enzymes to do their jobs.
Natural, unprocessed sea salt contains key electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, super important for the body. AND, without water, these functions can’t occur.
Many people on a low carb diet suffer from electrolyte imbalances and may get cramps or dizzy. Adding salt to their water (or putting a pinch on your tongue) is a natural version of Gatorade, (without the sugar), and will often resolve these issues almost immediately.
In fact, Stephen Phinney, low carb expert, Professor of Medicine and author of “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable” has said we need around 5mg of salt per day: 2-3 grams on food/in water and 2 grams as broth. This is around 1 teaspoon’s worth.
So adding it to our food and water is necessary.
So what if you’re not low carb?
If you’re consuming a lot of processed and refined foods, you’ll be getting a lot MORE salt in your food, as it is added to most processed foods such as bread, chips, crackers etc. Problem with the salt used on this food is that it too, is processed and your body, especially your kidneys, is/are having to deal with this toxic load of additives such as anti-caking agents, whilst also being stripped of those essential minerals AND usually adding iodine. Some also contain MSG, sugar and aluminium derivatives! [1. Dr.Axe]
Adding salt to your food AND eating these foods more than likely end up in an over-consumption of (processed) salt and cause an imbalance with the other electrolytes in the body, i.e. too much sodium, not enough of the other minerals such as potassium. And it really is all about this electrolyte balance. Table salt also causes fluid retention. Sea salt does not.
So, Bianca, what are your tips for being more hydrated?
- Know how much water you need.
- Drink water as soon as you wake. 1-3 big glasses (warm is my preference).
- Drink additional water if drinking diuretics.
○ 1 cup diuretics = 1.5-2 cups of additional water required
- Drink 1 glass 30 mins before a meal.
- Always have a (good quality) water bottle handy and drink from it!
○ Refill a 600ml bottle 2-3 times
- Add 1/8th tsp of top quality sea or pink Himalayan salt to each glass of water especially if you suffer from low blood pressure/dizziness/muscle twitching or cramping.
- Drink 1-2 glasses before you go to bed to maintain better hydration throughout the night.
- Drink quality water (do your best wherever you live)
○ Avoid plastic bottles
○ Install a quality filter that filters:
> Herbicides/pesticides and VOCs
Remember that you may have been dehydrated for years which means your body will not suddenly become hydrated by drinking your fill of water in one day. Start to form a habit of drinking each and every day, or just start by adding one of the above tips into your life and start to see the difference to how you feel because you’re body, brain and overall health (and therefore happiness) depend on it!
Have a great (and very well hydrated) 2018!
With love (and healthy fats), Bianca x