Keeping well hydrated. Several tips…

§ December 21st, 2010 § Filed under News Comments Off on Keeping well hydrated. Several tips…

–  Don’t wait until you are thirsty.  Drink water little and often.  Never allow yourself to become thirsty because you would then already be dehydrated.

–  Too much or too little? You can tell when you are correctly hydrated by having a look at the colour of your urine.  Transparent and a very pale yellow is perfect.  Completely colourless probably means you are over hydrated and a stronger yellow (fairly) or even an orangey (extremely) colour means that you are dehydrated.

–  Being well hydrated enables you to burn fat.  If you don’t drink enough water, the body will try to retain what water it does have.  This gets in the way of proper kidney function and waste products accumulate.  Then your liver is called upon to flush out the impurities.  One of the liver’s main jobs is to metabolise fat in to useable energy, so it’s ability to do this is impaired.  If your body receives the steady supply of water in the right amounts, this stored water will be released.

–  More body weight = drink more.  The bigger your body, the more water you need to consume.

–  Caffeine dehydrates.  Eliminate if possible or reduce progressively to zero the amount of caffeinated drinks you consume.  A lot of people don’t realise that tea contains more caffeine by weight than coffee, which most of us recognise as containing caffeine.  Caffeine is a diuretic and will quickly shed water from the body.

–  Help prevent a hangover.  I’m sure you wouldn’t expect me to advocate drinking to the point where a hangover is possible, and I won’t.  However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of suffering the next day if you do have a few too many.  Alcohol dehydrates and so does caffeine.  So, if you have loads to drink with a meal and finish off with a coffee you are likely to be awake for longer as well as being drunk.  Therefore a lack of sleep adds to the hangover.  So, try to avoid caffeine alongside alcohol.  Try to drink at least the same amount of water along the way as you do alcohol.  It will make the effects of the alcohol last longer meaning less strain on your wallet and less immediate strain on your internal organs.  Always have some water before going to bed.

–  Dehydration and impotence.  Dehydration affects the body’s ability to produce seminal fluids.  The body’s first priority is to protect the internal organs, not to reproduce, so seminal fluids are at the back of the queue when water is limited.

–  Drink water to become more intelligent! Even slight dehydration will shrink the brain, which will impair neuromuscular co-ordination, concentration and thought processes.  Dehydration will also upset the balance of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride, which also negatively affect the brain.  These are the important ingredients in most rehydration salts on the market.

–  Water for a healthy heart. Dehydration leads to thicker and more concentrated blood, which is harder for the heart to process and therefore puts more strain on it.  This also affects the heart’s ability to transport nutrients and oxygen around the body, which will limit performance in exercise.

–  Not only in hot weather. It’s probably easier to recognise the risk of dehydration in warm weather.  However, it can just as easily happen in cold weather and this is one of the main reasons why I wanted to bring this up now.

–  Another hydration test to try yourselves. The ‘skin turgor test’.  Using the thumb and forefinger on one hand, pick up a small fold of skin on the other hand.  When properly hydrated, the skin should snap straight back in to place.  If dehydrated it is likely to form a ridge and very slowly return to its normal position.  With age this may happen to a small extent, but not in as pronounced a way as when dehydrated.

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