Feeling the thirst?

AS YOU know a good portion of your body is made up of water - in fact, at least 70% of your body is water.

It is for this reason that your body requires water for its survival.

Maintaining hydration becomes more important as we age.

Poor hydration can also lead to dry eyes and blurred vision, as well as headaches and fatigue.

Did you know that dehydration is the number one trigger for daytime fatigue and that a drop of just 2% of body water can result in short-term memory problems and difficulty on focusing?

So whether you are behind the wheel of a truck or behind the desk - maintaining your hydration has to be a priority for you.

We constantly lose water through normal bodily functions like breathing, sweating and elimination.

Our bodies lose water faster when the weather is really hot or when we do exercise.

Having a fever, vomiting or diarrhoea can also lead to rapid fluid loss.

Regardless of how you lose it, if you don't replace the water you have lost, you become dehydrated.

By asking yourself two quick questions you'll be able to work out whether you are dehydrated.

 Am I thirsty? If your lips and mouth are dry then you are probably already dehydrated. This dehydration will lead to thirst. If you are thirsty, then you need to drink more water.

 What colour is my wee? Your urine should be light yellow in colour if you are well hydrated. Certain foods can change the colour of your urine. Eating beetroot can turn your urine red, too many carrots can turn your urine a darker orange and asparagus can turn your urine a slight tinge of green.

Symptoms of dehydration are little or no urine, dark urine, dry mouth, dry eyes or blurred vision, sleepiness or fatigue, extreme thirst, headache, confusion, and feeling dizzy or light-headed

Don't wait until you notice signs of dehydration before you do something about it.

The average person is told to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Another way to look at it is to aim to drink approximately one litre of water per 30kg per day.

While water is the best option for staying hydrated, there are some foods and beverages that can help provide more hydration. You just need to watch out for the calories.

Fruit and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber, tomato and lettuce contain high levels of water.

Drinks such as fruit and vegetable juice or herbal teas are also good sources of fluids.

It's best to avoid caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee and soft drinks as these types of beverages are diuretics and can cause some people to urinate more frequently, adding to the dehydration dilemma.

Sports drinks can help hydration and the replacement of electrolytes, however most sports drinks are high in sugar and sodium, and often contain caffeine too.

Tips for staying hydrated:

 Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere.

 Start and end your day with a glass of water.

 If you feel hungry, drink water first, especially if you are not due for a meal. The sensation of thirst is often confused for hunger.

  Try a water schedule. Drink on the hour every hour or mark the side of your water bottle with each time slot you will drink.

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