Dehydration can lead to headaches and other joint aches and pains including back ache. Tiredness and other digestive problems can also be a result of not drinking enough or too much of the wrong drinks.
“As we’re made up of 70% water if levels reduce the body simply can’t function properly. We lose on average 1.5 litres daily, just through normal functioning so topping up daily is crucial to ensure good health.” says Shirley Ward, Sundial’s Nutritionist.
Feeling thirsty is actually one of the last signs you’re dehydrated; let’s look at how the body reacts if you’re not a regular water drinker.
When water levels reduce the body reacts by trying to conserve as much water as possible, in case this situation continues. Blood vessels tighten and contract, to try to cope with reduced fluid content and blood becomes thicker and more concentrated. The heart therefore has to work harder to pump blood through.
Headaches & Dehydration
The body has no reserve supply of water, so when levels reduce it prioritises distribution to the most important areas, i.e. the brain, leaving other areas to struggle without adequate hydration.
The brain is heavily water-dependant (containing 85%), so when levels drop it simply can’t function properly. Studies show that even a 2% water loss can cause a 20% drop in mental and physical energy!
When blood vessels contract in the brain, to cope with reduced fluid content, this leads to a reduced supply of blood and oxygen; hence the link between dehydration and headaches.
Joint Pain/Inflammation & Dehydration
Joints are made up of 55% water; if levels reduce they become weaker and less lubricated. If this situation continues dehydration can be a key contributing factor to joint pain and inflammation. Where inflammation occurs adequate water levels are needed to remove inflammatory debris.
So How Can I Help Myself?
Ensuring adequate daily water intake is such an easy way to improve health and help address issues such as headaches and joint pain and inflammation.
Increasing daily water intake is a great start; aim to gradually increase to 1.5 to 2 litres daily.
If you’re not a major water fan, fruit or herbal teas count towards your daily amount (there’s such a wide selection available to try in supermarkets), plus chicory/rye coffee alternative drinks (available from health-food stores).
Coffee and tea have mild diuretic properties, so can actually contribute to water loss, so reducing intake is a good idea.
Choosing foods high in water-content such as “crunchy” lettuce, cucumber, radishes and peppers and “juicy” fruits such as melons and peaches can also help towards hydration.
Water = good health: keep drinking!!
Visit www.downtoearthnutrition.co.uk to find out how nutritional therapy can help you achieve your health goals.
The above is provided as general nutritional advice.