Which nutrient can reduce fatigue, headache duration, assist constipation and aid mood?
…water…?! Yep. Its underrated isn’t it.
I estimate that one in three of my nutritional therapy clients aren’t drinking enough water. I know this because its part of my standard set of questions in the consultation… and these clients actually TELL me they dodge the h2O. This just highlights an opportunity to build a new healthy habit into their day, alongside their food changes. Our bodies utilise water in too many ways to list in this article, but suffice to say I see some very particular issues with nutrition clients who aren’t drinking enough. (Water – not wine :D!)
I have lost count of the nutrition clients who have consulted me about their chronic constipation but who overlook their need for fluids. Not liking the taste of water / forgetting to drink are the usual excuses but we can’t afford to ignore this great health resource.
Regarding constipation, I should say that whilst adequate hydration won’t compensate for a low fibre intake – you still need to eat plenty of vegetables – it does assist constipation when an individual is following a low fibre diet *for health reasons.* I don’t want to bash mothers in this blog post but they are often – not always – the people not drinking enough yet ironically, are fastidious in ensuring their children are drinking adequately. So – mums – please remember to look after yourself as well.
2 Headaches and Mood
We know from observational studies that a lack of water can reduce concentration and intensify irritability, and that it may also act as a trigger for headaches and migraines and may even prolong them.
3 Exercise under performance
Did you know that athletic performance suffers with as little as 2% dehydration, including increased fatigue, reduced motivation, and increased perceived effort? You may be HIIT-ing your sweatbands off but if you’re not drinking enough – the rewards diminish. We also know that feelings of thirst are often inadequate to drive us to sufficiently rehydrate… (sunstroke anyone?) and so even after we feel we have drunk enough – we may actually be dehydrated for many hours after we exercise… Whilst I can’t say whether clients are under performing in the gym – but as most people do some form of exercise and 1 in 3 people I see aren’t drinking enough – this is worth bearing in mind.
Top tip: Get yourself a drink of water each time you make a hot drink
This is just a snapshot of potential issues from poor hydration – but worse can happen. Evidence shows that a lack of water intake is correlated with a plethora of health issues from increased kidney stones, exercise related asthma, urinary tract and colon cancers, mitral valve prolapse and possibly diabetes. If that doesn’t persuade you to drink regularly and throughout the day, then in my next article you can find out what’s actually IN our water and some ways we can potentially improve the quality of what we are drinking. If reading this has made you aware of your thirst – great – please get yourself some water…