How Much Water Should I Drink?
There is a formula for water. It is your body weight in lb’s divide by 64 and this is the amount of fluid in litres you need each day. Make sure lots of it is purely water, it makes such a difference to how you feel. And remember your body is over 70% water, so it does like it!
It works out to an average of needing around 1 litre of fluid (2 pints) per 5 stone.
But how does it affect my bowel?
Your bowel does all sorts of things. It isn’t just a dumping ground for waste products. It’s the final part of your digestive tract and is responsible for all sorts of things including re-absorbing lots of water back into your body.
Does it matter if it’s cold or warm?
Your body temperature is the same, whether you are at the North Pole or the equator. Drinking chilled water cools your core body temperature and makes tour gut contract. Not very good for digestion, so generally try and keep it at room temperature and above.
Your body is great at recycling!
Your body secretes around 7.5 litres of fluid every day into your gut. Most of it is reabsorbed again, but some of it is lost through various excretions.
As your body can only absorb anything that is soluble, any solid waste has to be removed and is done so by your bowel. This solid waste needs to be kept soft to make it easy for you to empty your bowel.
Read on for more information…
The problem with not drinking enough is that your solid waste dries out. That’s because your body is thirsty and takes whatever fluid it can to meet the demands of making new and maintaining existing cells.
Your body doesn’t think to itself, ‘there’s not enough water in my bowel to keep it soft, so I won’t take so much out today,’ it keeps attempting to draw water for all your needs and if there isn’t enough left to keep your waste soft, then it gets dry and hard and forms into the ‘rabbit pellets’ lots of people are familiar with. This waste is difficult to move and results in constipation symptoms.
This is also a big problem with an irritable bowel where your bowel goes into a spasm and makes things even worse. (see out article about IBS for more information)
Once suffering with constipation, your gut begins to become congested and you end up absorbing lots of things that should have been excreted.
This can show in various ways:
Did you know that your skin is your biggest excretory organ? So your skin is a big reflection of what is happening inside your body.
Most of your blood volume is made up of water, so low fluid levels can affect your blood pressure.
Have a look at your tongue. Does it look dry? If so it’s a good indicator that you aren’t drinking enough. Years ago, when you visited the doctor, the first thing they asked was to look at your tongue. It’s amazing what we can see from looking at it. (Keep an eye on our blog. We may to do a piece on the fascinating subject of tongue diagnosis!)
Look at your urine. What colour is it? After the first trip of the day to empty your bladder, it should be a nice light clear colour. If it stays dark, or is smelly or cloudy, it is another sign that you may be dehydrated. Imagine the strain on your kidneys and the effect on your bladder of the strong uric acid in your urine if it isn’t diluted enough by water! Lots of water infections, UTI’s and kidney infections are due to not drinking enough.
And then there are your eyes. Often described as a window to your soul, but what can they tell you about your water levels?
Well are they dry, itchy or gritty? Are they red and have dark circles around them? It may be because you are dehydrated and can’t produce enough tears to keep them clean, moist and shiny bright.
Remember, if you aren’t drinking enough, this can create all these symptoms. So make sure you make today a day you start to increase your fluid levels.
Of course, all of these symptoms may be caused by other problems so do visit your GP if you are unsure.
So, after all that, here’s some good news… All this fluid doesn’t need to be water! Your body will take whatever fluid it needs from wherever it can. So some of it will be absorbed from your food, herbal teas, and other drinks and tea and coffee count too!
However.. remember there is a lot of caffeine in tea and coffee, so any drinks that contain caffeine should be moderated as caffeine acts as a stimulant and can create bowel problems. (Especially for people suffering with IBS).
Very importantly… Even if you are drinking the recommended daily amount of fluid, if none of this is plain water, you will not feel as well as you will drinking at least a pint of plain water. Give it a try for a week and see how you feel. You will sleep better, excrete better, and in time have much improved skin. Skin health comes from within, so don’t think all the face cream, moisturizer and make up will improve your skin. If you aren’t drinking enough water, you are fighting a losing battle.
By the way, if you want beautiful skin, make sure you also have plenty of ‘good’ oil in your diet. It creates the slightly acidic top that protects it from bacterial infection.
So, try to start the day with a pint of warm water, with a slice or two of lemon. The lemon stimulates your liver, which really gets your digestive system working. Wait 20 minutes before eating, to allow it to flush through your stomach.
Generally, don’t eat and drink at the same time, the fluid makes your stomach stretch and dilutes the strong hydrochloric acid is your stomach. This slows down how quickly you digest your food and really makes you feel full and bloated. Again this is really important if you suffer with IBS. Stop drinking around 20 minutes before eating and wait around 30 minutes after eating before drinking again.
Try it and see. Remember it won’t necessarily change in a few days. Let me know how you get on or have any questions.