Have you been checking your pee lately? No? Well, don’t be embarrassed – take a peek. It’s all a matter of research, just to make sure you’re drinking enough water. Pale yellow? You’re doing well with the water intake. Orange or amber? it’s likely that you are heading towards a dehydration problem if not already in amongst it.
We don’t function at our best when low on the good old H20, especially as water plays such an important role in how our body works. It’s a vital nutrient, making up about 50-70 per cent of the human body, forming the basis of our blood supply, digestive juices, urine and perspiration – all of which are crucial to the way we function on a daily basis – and that includes our mental health.
Drink and think
Two studies conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory showed how even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level and ability to think clearly.
Separate groups of young women and men took part in the study. Active and healthy people in their 20s, participants took part in three evaluations 28 days apart. All of the subjects were hydrated the evening before the evaluations commenced, then walked on a treadmill to induce dehydration. The subjects were put through a battery of cognitive tests that measured vigilance, concentration, reaction time, learning, memory and reasoning. The interesting result was that, particularly in the women, mild dehydration caused headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Experts suggest that it’s not a good idea to wait until you feel thirsty to top up that glass of water – we need to keep a constant intake of water happening to ensure we don’t end up dehydrated. For most women, 2.1 litres (8 cups) a day should do the trick. For men, the recommendation is 2.6 litres (10 cups). But this is where you need to start checking your pee – we are all different, with different levels of activity and potentially different conditions that affect the levels of water we retain. If you are on a high-fibre diet, you may need a bit of extra water to keep things flowing (in and out of your body) and if intense exercise sessions are on your agenda, more water may be called for.
Listen to your body – are you feeling exhausted, cranky or unable to concentrate? Yes, you may be ‘hangry’ but you may also be dehydrated. It’s worth heading to the kitchen to fill up your water bottle, and maybe stopping by the loo on the way to check your pee.