Yes, that’s right.
Today’s entire article is going to be on hydration.
You’re thinking “yes Tyson, I know I need to drink more water”.
But here’s the thing, even though you ‘know’ you need to drink more water, you still don’t do it.
Annnndddddd what if I told you that you don’t have to drink water to keep hydrated during the day?
What if I told you water isn’t the most hydrating beverage?
Now I have your attention, don’t I?
It seems you’ve become a little more interested in the topic of hydration, hmm?
Because what you’re going to learn today will help you keep more hydrated.
It will also arm you with witty remarks that you can throw in a coworkers face next time they tell you not to drink tea or coffee because it’s “dehydrating”.
Why Hydration Is Important
Let’s start with the basics first.
Your body is made up of 50 – 70% of water. 73% of your muscle is made up of water while 10% of your fat is made of water.
The reason hydration is so important is that it:
- Helps dissolve and transport substances.
- A major component of blood plasma ( plasma transport nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need it)
- Protects and lubricate tissues
- The First line of defence immunity
If you’re dehydrated you can have a lot of problems such as:
- Dry mouth, lips & eyes
- Feelings of lethargy
- Decreased cognitive function
- Decreased exercise performance
So as you can see, it does a lot of things for your body to help you function normally.
Basically, if you aren’t hydrated you feel like shit, you have no energy and you can’t concentrate.
So yea, there’s a reason hydration is of massive importance.
Beverage Hydration Index
Now when you think about hydrating, the first thought that comes to your head is water.
You need to drink more water in order to hydrate right?
But, here’s the kicker… you don’t just have to drink water in order to hydrate.
You see, not all beverages are equal and water isn’t the most hydrating liquid.
This is because absorption is affected by the amount of fluid drink, how much carbs and electrolytes (sodium, potassium etc) and the presence of diuretic agents (substances that promote urine production).
This is why the hydration index was created, researchers wanted to find out what the most hydrating liquids are.
So here’s what they found…
As you can see from the results, there are a fair few beverages that are more hydrating than water. Now in saying that, obviously pure water is still a good option because it contains no calories, doesn’t cost money and is good for you.
But this also means that you don’t just have to drink water to hydrate.
The oral rehydration solution got the highest results and that’s because it’s a solution for athletes who sweat a lot, not for people like you and me.
What you should focus on is the results from milk, diet cola, tea and coffee.
These low-calorie drinks are great ways to help keep you hydrated through the day.
This also means when you drink coffee (as long as it’ not espresso shots), tea, coke zero, milk etc all contribute to your hydration levels.
Ways To Improve Hydration
So here are a few quick tips you can follow to increase how much you drink:
- Keep a water bottle at home, in your car and at your desk at work so you’re never without a water bottle
- Add milk to your tea or coffee to prolong your hydration
- Drink soups
- Eat your veggies (food has water)
- Make a morning smoothie
- Have a big glass of water as soon as you wake up
Now that you know you can drink other beverages apart from water you can use that to your advantage to keep you hydrated during the day. Here’s an idea as to how you could put some of these tips together
- You can start off with a big glass (about 330ml) of water the moment you get out of bed to start hydrating yourself.
- After your first glass of water, you can then have your normal coffee (as long as it’s not an espresso) for another 330ml of water.
- When you have your lunch, you can wash it down with a 600ml coke zero. This is not only good for hydration, but it also helps reduce appetite because of the volume of liquid you’ve drunk along with the carbonation from the coke zero.
- You sip on some more water throughout the day and have an afternoon tea (another 400ml of water in total).
- For dinner, you have some steak and veggies with a glass of milk (250ml)
A day like that will give you about 2L + of water which is well on your way to keeping you hydrated.
How To Know If You’re Hydrated
Here’s the thing about hydration, everyone is going to have different hydration requirements.
This is because of things like:
- Gender (men sweat more)
- Exercise intensity
- Environmental temperature
- Fitness – sweating sensitivity
- Health/ illness
- Pre-exercise hydration status
Because of these different factors, I’m not going to give you a broad recommendation of how much you need to drink.
Instead, you’re going to figure out an individualised based on one thing, urine colour.
This is a urine colour chart.
You should be aiming to keep your urine close to clear.
So whenever you go to the bathroom and it’s anything but close to clear, it’s a good reminder to drink more water.
It really is that simple, which is great because you can self regulate how much you need to drink.
If you’re drinking too much you’ll be urinating a lot more frequently and your urine will look like water, this is a good indication to slow down how much you’re drinking.
If on the other hand, your pee is really dark, you know you need to start drinking more liquid.
Another great way to know if you’re hydrated is based on your thirst.
If you’re really thirsty, have a drink.
If you don’t find yourself getting thirst and you’re still peeing clearly then you don’t need to make the effort to drink more.
FAQS ABOUT HYDRATION
Does Coffee Dehydrate You
In short, coffee and tea don’t dehydrate you. While these drinks do contain caffeine which is a diuretic the amount of liquid you drink in these beverages will determine whether they hydrate you or not. For that reason, you shouldn’t drink espresso shots all day long because that has a small amount of liquid and a large hit off caffeine.
If you change your espresso to a long black or a coffee with milk, then you’re smooth sailing.
Do I Need to drink more water if I exercise
Exercise does make you sweat more and for some people, it looks like they’ve jumped into a pool after their workout session.
You can sip on water during exercise but I’d advise you not to try and force yourself to drink too much water because you think you “have to hydrate”.
If you sip on water during your workout, you aren’t too thirsty and when you pee your urine is still relatively clear then you don’t have to drink a lot more water during exercise.
Let thirst and urine colour dictate how much water you drink.
Can I Drink Too Much Water?
Drinking too much water is known as hyponatremia and people have died from it. Hyponatremia has been on the rise since it was advised that you have to focus on keeping hydrated when working out/doing cardio. People who don’t sweat a lot have drunk too much water and suffered consequences for this.
Although unlikely, you can make sure you avoid it by just focusing on thirst and urine colour.
That’s All You Need To Know
So there you have it.
You now know more than 90% of people out there about hydration and it’s all you need to know.
The biggest focus for you is to make sure your urine is close to clear and you’re checking yourself throughout the day.
If you do that, you’re winning the hydration battle.
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