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  • Writer's pictureGina Saler

Feeling thirsty? - the solution to hydration

We all know our bodies are mostly made of water and how important it is to stay hydrated but we may not know the best strategy.

The hot weather plus poor absorption could be responsible for you feeling thirsty, guzzling large quantities of fluid, then peeing only to find you are still really thirsty and you start all over again.

Perhaps the issue is not just the quantity but the quality of your fluids. The obvious culprits are excessive coffee, alcohol and highly sugared and/or caffeinated drinks. These are known as diuretics as they cause the body to lose water.

The second reason is poor absorption. Water has to be emptied from your stomach walls and absorbed by your small intestine before it can be useful in hydrating you. Glucose with your water increases the uptake into the small intestine which is very important. There is also an effect according to the temperature of the water affecting your digestive capacity but this is dependent on the individual. Drinking icy cold drinks might make you feel cool on the outside but on the inside that water is being warmed up to the body’s preferred internal temperature for digestion. For those with weaker digestion icy drinks are best kept to an occasional choice.

Another reason for poor absorption ironically is existing low-level dehydration because your cells are just not taking up the fluid you are consuming.

The easiest and fastest way around this is to make a water plus salt and sugar solution and drink smaller amounts more frequently.

Always use good quality sea salt as it contains a spectrum of naturally occurring minerals including sodium in balance. For the “sugar” part you can use honey, any type of sugar or juice (apple works well).

The secret though is to add a (tiny) pinch of sea salt and a tablespoon or two of juice or pinch of sugar or squirt of honey into your water bottle or large glass which makes it easier for your stomach to absorb the fluid because both the glucose and the salt encourage uptake into your cells. If you use too much of either, it won’t be as good.

I personally find this “water” in my bottle to be easier to swallow and feel better after drinking it. Plus it tastes quite nice.

But don’t take my word on it, try it for yourself.

Tip – if you are using a water bottle it will need to be thoroughly cleaned with a bottle brush to remove any traces of the glucose and salt solution left at the bottom of your bottle.

Did you know – this principle has been in use for many years by the World Health Organisation to treat dehydration in third world countries (though the quantities and type of salt and sugar may be different) and is the premise behind electrolyte replacement drinks.

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