The benefits of staying hydrated
Our body is made up of around 60% water so it’s safe to say that hydration should be up there on our list of daily non negotiables. To avoid dehydration, we need to replace this fluid regularly from both food and drinks such as water, teas and juices. However, we support the idea that it is key to follow your thirst, rather than subscribe to the common health myth that we must all drink eight to ten glasses (or 2 litres) of water each day on top of any other drinks, which is not supported by any scientific findings. It really depends on our dosha (Ayurvedic mind-body type), climate, diet and other factors.
But why should we stay topped up with H20?
‘Water is essential for so many critical bodily functions,’ says Holly Huntley, Herbal Education Specialist at Pukka.
‘We lose fluid through sweating, menstruation, respiration, urination and other bodily functions and when we don’t replenish this lost liquid, our health starts to suffer straight away.’
It has been shown that flavouring water both led to people drinking more and being less dehydratedi. However, if plain water doesn’t appeal, herbal teas can offer a tasty alternative. They provide your body with hydration and herbal goodness so experiment with blends to see how they make you feel.
‘Herbal teas are made by steeping herbs, flowers, or roots in freshly boiled water. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in many herbs have shown to provide many short and long-term health benefits, ranging from helping digestion, relieving stress, to supporting the body’s immune system,’ explains Holly.
Need a greater incentive to drink up? Here’s 6 reasons why staying hydrated will be one of the best things you do today…
Holly explains: ‘After topping up your hydration levels, you may notice a decline in fatigue, fuzzy thinking, brain fog and those irritating headaches may even disappear.’
Fill a glass or stainless steel water bottle in the morning and take it with you wherever you go. Your water bottle then becomes a visual reminder to keep drinking too. Some bottles even have a compartment you can use to infuse extra flavour such as chopped fresh herbs such as mint, lemon balm or rosemary, cucumber or fruit.
‘Mint tea offers cooling and energizing properties thanks to invigorating essential oils like menthol, which relax muscles in the head and neck, and awaken the senses to keep you feeling rejuvenated.’
A number of studies have found drinking enough to avoid mild dehydration helps support brain function and our ability to do simple tasks, such as problem-solving. (ii)
‘Dehydration can impair cognitive function, memory and your ability to concentrate,’ says Holly who adds that keeping fluid levels up can sharpen your senses and keep you focused and alert throughout the day.
Try Pukka’s Tulsi Clarity tea to clear away those mental clouds and improve mental clarity. Naturally caffeine free, it helps to increase blood flow to the brain to restore mental energy and power you through the day.
Move smooth and help joints and muscles
As temperatures start to rise, we lose more water through sweat - the body’s natural response to help keep cool and maintain core body temperature. Plus, we lose even more when exercising, especially in the heat.
Hydrate post workout with Pukka’s Turmeric Active tea; its spicy blend helps ease muscular tension, aches and pains.
Maintain healthy digestion
Constipation can often be a warning sign of dehydration.
Holly explains that water flushes out impurities and other substances that your body no longer needs. ‘It is essential for kidney and liver function as well as digestion. Poor hydration however slows your digestive system right down.’
She adds: ‘If you’re not drinking enough fluids, your colon will try to absorb all water from your digestive tract leaving hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.’
Kickstart your digestion with water or try Pukka’s Feel New tea, which contains turmeric, fennel, cardamon and aniseed to support elimination and ease bloating and indigestion. Ayurveda, the traditionally healing medicine of India, suggests that you should drink water in small sips throughout the day, but not excessively just before/with or after meals as this can dilute necessary digestive enzymes.
Improve your mood
Interestingly, stress can cause us to lose water.
‘When we’re stressed, our heart rate increases which may lead to heavy breathing and loss of fluids. We may also forget to drink so keeping hydrated is vital to help you feel your best throughout the day’ says Holly.
The simple act of stopping and having a glass of water or cup of tea can often cool you down in a heated moment. She recommends a moment to unwind with relaxing herbs such as chamomile and lavender. Or a warming cup of Night Time tea, with the additional benefit of valerian to get in the right mood for a restful sleep.
Get the glow
The skin, our biggest organ, is said to contain around 64% water, so depriving it of fluid can leave it looking dry and dull. ‘Drinking plenty of fresh filtered water daily will help to keep skin cells plump,’ says Holly who adds that a daily batch of cool tea is a refreshing way to keep skin glowing. Try making a cold brew tea with zesty herbals such as Lemon, Ginger & Manuka Honey tea. Make the tea as normal, allow to cool and enjoy!