The benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated are well known. Any Google search will list why you should drink water and they include – improving and regulating your digestion, eliminating toxins, hydrating your skin, improving your complexion, aiding concentration and supporting clearer thinking. People have less headaches and it helps with weight loss. The lists also goes on. . .
You also frequently read the recommended amount is to drink 2 litres per day (roughly 8 glasses). I actually disagree with this. I think some people need to drink more and some people need less. This depends on your lifestyle, the food you eat, how much exercise you take and the time of year. I would also go further and suggest it is not only important how much water you drink but when and the way you drink it.
So yes, you know you need to drink more water and you want to but how do you actually do it? I often hear the following in clinic – “I just don’t like the taste’, ‘I always forget to drink enough’ and ‘I’ll just end up running to the loo all the time”. Here are my top tips for not just drinking more water but enjoying every glass –
Tip 1 – Get Organised
Know how much you want to drink each day. Buy a re-useable water bottle and refill it. Not buying disposable bottles of water is better for the environment and better for your health as no chemicals transfer from the plastic to your drinking water.
Don’t flood your system -slowly increase the amount you drink each day until you are drinking your desired amount. Sip water from your bottle throughout the day. Drink a little each hour and you will get through it.
Tip 2 – Change your Routine
Introduce practical changes to your daily routine. Set phone reminders. Carry your water around with you during the day and keep it handy – in the car, at your desk, in the kitchen, beside your bed a night.
Tip 3 – Change the Taste
Buy a filter jug – Sometimes tap water does not taste nice depending where you live. You may prefer the taste of filtered water so invest in a water filter jug. They don’t cost much and are also good way of keeping track of how much you are drinking each day.
Tip 4 – Make Fruit and Herb infusions
During Summer months try adding cucumber, melon, mint, or lemon to your water bottle. In Winter I add slices of fresh ginger to mine. By enjoying the taste of your water you will want to drink more. Get creative and be inspired to make different combinations. You can get some ideas here –
Tip 5 – Correct Temperature
Your body process’ water best if it is the correct temperature. In Chinese medicine the Zang-Fu closely linked to your digestion are the Spleen & Stomach. (Not to be confused with the functions of the Western Spleen and Stomach!). The energetic functions of these organs are involved in making and circulating Qi and Blood. The Stomach is said to ‘Rot and Ripen’ food and extract all the nutrients. It likes it warm and moist. The main function of the Spleen is to Transform and Transport the Qi and Blood around your body using the channel pathways. The Spleen likes it Cool and Dry.
This is the reason I advise patients to make sure they drink enough fluids to keep the Stomach moist but to avoid consumption, especially of ice cold drinks, that weaken the functions of the Spleen!
Drink room temperature water. Fill up a jug or your bottle at night and in the morning it will be the optimal temperature for effective digestion. If you really don’t like room temperature water instead of regular ice you could freeze small pieces of lemon, lime, melon or apple and use these instead of ice cubes.
Drink warm water in the Evenings and Winter to aid digestion. Buy a thermal bottle for your water to keep it warm. Make sure you buy one like this with a brush for easy cleaning!
In the Summer eat more salad and fruit. In the Winter add soups and roasted vegetables to your diet.
Aim to have 50% of each meal as salad, vegetables or fruit. Include foods with a high water content. Examples include cucumber (96% water), watermelon (92% water), grapefruit (91% water) and celery (95% water). Others foods with slightly less water content include raspberries, pineapple, plums, peaches, oranges, cranberries, apricots and blueberries.You can also chop these up and snack on them through the day.
Tip 7- Are you Thirsty or Hungry?
Very often we are thirsty rather than hungry. Drink a glass of water when you are hungry. Drink around 30 minutes before or after eating to prevent drowning your food as too much water with meals dilutes stomach acid and slows down digestion. Staying hydrated also helps you loose weight as you eat less.
More benefits of drinking water and tips on how to do it can be found in patient corner on my website.