Nutrition & Hydration Week
It’s Nutrition and Hydration Week - a week dedicated to bringing people together to highlight, and educate, people on the value of food and drink in maintaining health and well being. To celebrate this week we’re going to delve a little deeper into the importance of hydration and how it can help you to supercharge your health and wellbeing and why it is key to keeping your gut both happy and healthy!
Why is hydration important?
It’s no secret that our bodies are made of mostly water – anywhere from 50-70% to be precise and while we as humans can go around 3 weeks without food, we can only go a few days without water. Water is one of the most important substances for plants and animals to survive on earth. But why is hydration so important? Proper hydration boasts huge health benefits and is not only vital for feeling good on the inside, but also on the outside. Hydrating our bodies helps to keep our joints lubricated and strong, it regulates our body temperature, boosts our cognitive performance and helps to keep our digestive system working. Whether you enjoy your water hot, cold, with fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar, water is amazing at helping to move nutrients around your body, flushing out all the bad toxins. Drinking enough water keeps your intestines smooth and flexible, helping the food you eat move through your intestines and ultimately, it allows food waste to exit the body.
As you can guess, if you’re not hydrating enough and your body doesn’t have enough water, your stool becomes more difficult for you to pass and you can find yourself suffering from constipation. The elimination of waste from our cells and the colon is an important process for our bodies and is dependent on hydration, as without that, the toxins in our bodies can’t be removed. Without sufficient hydration you are actually making your body more susceptible to allergens and infections and we don’t want that, let’s be honest! In one of our previous blogs, we explored the connection between our gut and our brain and how feelings of stress, anxiety and more could all be linked directly back to the gut. Hydration also has a huge impact on our brain and cognitive functions. Without sufficient hydration,the brain’s energy supply is reduced which can lead to low energy, stress, depression, or even chronic fatigue. We’ve spoken about it more, that an unhappy mind links to an unhappy gut and vice versa, so ensuring we stay hydrated really is key for that happy gut-brain relationship.
Water and the gut - what’s the deal?
Water is key in helping the body digest soluble fibre, which is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet, helping to prevent the dreaded visit of… constipation. Similar to not eating enough fibre, drinking too little water slows down the digestive system making it a lot harder for stool to be passed. When this happens, the toxins that we want our bodies to flush out of our system, end up staying longer than they should and as you can imagine, this isn’t what we want at all. When we hydrate our bodies properly, we are helping our digestion, meaning the minerals and nutrients become more accessible to the body (woo) and the food in our stomach and small intestines can mre absorbed more easily. So in short, hydrate hydrate hydrate!
Am I hydrating enough?
So how do you know if you’re well-hydrated? If you’ve had to give a urine sample before, you’ve probably heard your GP tell you that the darker the shade, the more dehydrated you are. If your urine is colourless or a very pale yellow, you’re a hydration king/queen! Your body is good at telling you exactly what it needs, but the difficult thing can be actually listening to it. It might sound pretty logical, but if you’re feeling thirsty, your body is trying to remind you it’s time to drink more water, so try to listen to your body and the signs it gives you.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you supercharge your gut by staying hydrated:
- Although the amount of water you should be drinking varies from person to person it’s recommended to have 2-3 litres of water per day. If you’re unsure about how much water you should be drinking, you can always ask your GP or health care professional.
- Hydrate before you caffeinate. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Hydrating first thing literally hydrates your brain (which is 75% water), and in turn, helps you to begin your day feeling focused and clear-headed. As mentioned before, water flushes the toxins out of your body and helps to kickstart your gut.
- Always have a water bottle handy - this will help make drinking water a lot easier to maintain. You’ll see that bottle next to you and it’s almost like a subtle reminder. You can even buy bottles that have little messages of motivation on them to help remind you to hydrate!
- If you struggle remembering to drink enough each day, there are multiple free apps you can download where you can not only track your daily intake, but the app will also send you notifications to remind you it’s time to hydrate again.
- Your water intake doesn’t just need to come from the fluid itself, but eating fruits and veggies regularly can also help your body to stay hydrated. Foods like cucumber, celery and watermelon have high water content and contribute to around 20% of your entire fluid intake each day (winning!).
- If you struggle to drink water on its own and feel you need some flavour, infusing your water with fresh fruit and herbs can help jazz things up a little bit. It’s also a fun way to experiment with different flavour combinations - lemon and mint is a personal favourite of mine, especially as the weather starts to get warmer, it’s a great summer treat!
- Don’t ignore thirst! If you’re thirsty, it’s quite likely your body is already dehydrated and this is when it can start to have an impact on your mind and body and how you’re feeling. Try to remind yourself of the amazing benefits hydration brings.
Sometimes the easiest habits are the hardest to stick to, especially when it’s easy to think they couldn’t possibly make that much of a difference. Don’t let your mind fool you into thinking this. Hydration really is key in contributing to so many health benefits and we promise you, by keeping yourself hydrated, you’ll start your day feeling happier, healthier and more energised and your gut will also thank you for it. Remember a happy gut means a happy mind, which contributes to a happy body.
We will say it again… hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!