With temperatures reaching boiling point here in the UK, and with many of us working from home with no air conditioning, you’d imagine we’re all glugging back plenty of ice cool water to stay hydrated.
The truth is, we’re not. Recent research, by Actiph Water, found that 90% of people in the UK are not drinking the NHS recommended 6 – 8 glasses of fluids per day (1.2 to 1.5l), with 20% admitting often forgetting to drink any water at all!
So, what are we drinking?
Tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and juice are firm favourites. But tea and coffee are classed as diuretics because they make the body produce urine more quickly than other drinks. And fizzy drinks and juices can be high in sugar, which can cause tooth damage and weight gain. These drinks are fine in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet, but they are no substitute for water.
With our bodies being made up of 70% water and our brains around 85% – ensuring we are sufficiently hydrated throughout the day with good quality H2O is essential for our health. If you’re one of the 90% who aren’t drinking enough, it’s highly likely you’ll be experiencing mild forms of dehydration.
What are the signs you are dehydrated?
Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart, pHD gives us the lowdown:
We have established that drinking water should be a really important part of your day, especially in hot weather. If you’re thinking about reaching for your fourth cup of coffee or fizzy drink of the day, don’t drink it until you have checked out these 5 signs that you may not be drinking the recommended amount of water per day:
1. Headaches – Drinking enough water has been shown to improve mild headaches, so surely it is worth remembering to hydrate to avoid the headache?
2. Difficulty concentrating – being dehydrated can make it hard to focus, making your working and home life much harder work than they need to be. Reaching for a bottle of water is an easy fix for this!
3. Low energy and low mood – Even mild dehydration can make you feel low in every way.It might be hard to motivate yourself to drink water when you’re feeling low, so keep a bottle of water next to you as a reminder to take a sip every now and again.
4. Constipation – drinking water is one of the easiest remedies for constipation. You may need more fibre and exercise, but always start with the simplest solution – you never know, it may be just what the doctor ordered!
5. Exercise is more difficult than usual – research shows that losing 2% of your body’s water can make you feel more fatigued and less motivated during and after exercise. Don’t forget that you may need to up your water intake when exercising, especially in hot weather.
What can I do to make sure I’m hitting my water quota?
Some people just don’t like water and others forget to drink. So, what can you do to make sure that you are staying hydrated? You need to get into the habit of sipping water throughout the day and once it becomes part of your routine, it will seem like a normal part of your daily life. Try any of these ideas to help you drink water and stay hydrated:
1. Have a glass of water as your first drink each morning. If you are a fan of an early morning workout, try sipping on Actiph pH9 Water – alkaline water is shown to hydrate you faster.
2. Top up on hydrating herbal tea. Unlike black tea or coffee that act as a diuretic (causing further dehydration) tea bags made with herbs, flowers and fruits, such as berry, spearmint or chamomile that are added to hot water make the water taste great and are good for your health and hydration. If you want a healthy fruity sugar free drink, try infusing Pukka Blackcurrant Beauty and drink either hot or cold.
3. Get fruity. If you don’t like the taste of water, add slices of lemon, orange or lime to jazz it up.
4. Set a reminder on your phone so that you are prompted to drink water at certain times of the day.
5. Get juicing. Vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, watermelon carrots are delicious when made into a fresh juice, and also really good to boost your vitamin and mineral intake. Fruits and vegetables also contain water, so consuming them fresh or whole will up your hydration.
Does the pH pf the water matter?
Nothing beats water when it comes to staying hydrated. This is even more important in hot weather and when exercising. Water is the simplest solution to numerous woes, including low energy and mood, lack of focus and concentration and fatigue and lack of motivation during exercise.
In the UK, you will find that your local tap water is around pH7 (neutral), with slight variations depending on area and mineral content. Soft drink, coffee and juices are more acidic at around pH 3.5-5. A 2016 study comparing hydration after exercise found that those drinking alkaline water had lower blood viscosity (meaning the thickness and stickiness of your blood) than those drinking standard water, which suggests that alkaline water provides better hydration than neutral pH water.
You can now buy Actiph water, which is ionised and alkaline to an impressive pH9, so it’s great for those who live an active lifestyle to ensure they are hydrated effectively.