Staying Hydrated

The Single Biggest Mistake That Exacerbates IBS Symptoms!

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated. Yet we all make so many excuses each day to do exactly the opposite. Why is this…?

“If I drink all that water I’ll need the loo every five minutes.”
‘But I just don’t like water, it’s boring!”
“I don’t have time to drink so much water. I’m really busy.”
“I’d rather have a cup of tea…”

How many of these excuses have you used today to get out of drinking enough water?

Let me break it down into easy to remember points so that you are reaching FOR the water rather than anything but.

  • We need water to make our bowels function properly.
  • See point 1

Yes. It really IS that simple…. :o)

The reason for this is that the bowel is the first part of the body to become dehydrated. Our bodies need water to survive each and every single day. Around 2 litres each day, depending on our weight x height and our energy expenditure levels.   If you aim for 2 litres it should be about right. This is because:

  • Our hearts need water to pump blood around our blood vessels.
  • Our lungs need water to enable them to breathe.
  • Our brains need water to tell us to put one foot in front of the other.
  • Our liver needs water to purify the blood.
  • Our eyes need water to enable us to see.
  • Our muscles need water to stretch and contract properly enabling us to move around.
  • Our stomach and bowels need water to function properly!

When we are not properly hydrated the body sucks all the moisture out of the bowels to utilise elsewhere in the body. Perhaps somewhere it deems more important like ensuring that our heart is able to beat or our lungs are able to breathe.

When the digestive system becomes dehydrated it ceases to function.  What happens is:

  • Our salivary glands are unable to start breaking down the food as it passes down our esophagus.
  • Our stomach spasms and bloats as it is unable to do the job of breaking down the food even further.
  • Our pancreas and small intestine are unable to produce the correct enzymes to break down the food and extract the nutrients.
  • Our colon isn’t able to pass waste through it properly, leading to cramps, pain, constipation and/or diarrhoea.
Our digestive system starts to shut down and is unable to do what it is supposed to do and digest food.

This often leaves us suffering with mal-nutrition as the sole purpose of the digestive system is to extract nutrients from food and pass out the waste. If we refrain from keeping hydrated we are in effect, exacerbating our own IBS symptoms. So you see, staying hydrated isn’t just a big old marketing ploy to buy shares in Evian. It literally IS ESSENTIAL for your bowel health and the most common mistake I see each and every day with my clients. Don’t worry, you are not alone! I have provided some helpful hints and tips below to help you stay hydrated.

The Simplest 7 Ways To Stay Hydrated

  • Tap water is OK, bottled water is OK, filtered tap water is better for the environment and your body. :o)
  • Invest in a water filter jug. And remember to replace the filters….!
  • Adding fruit and steeping water overnight can make it more interesting. Having sparkling mineral water can make a nice change too. Try adding citrus fruits, cucumber and mint or even strawberry and basil for a fresh taste.
  • Drinks a glass of water without fail first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This kick starts your metabolism and prepares your body for the ‘Repair and Protect’ mode that it goes into each night.
  • Have 3 glasses of water in between EACH cup of tea / coffee / other caffeinated drink. This will ensure that the dehydrating diuretic properties of the caffeine is undone by consuming enough water to rehydrate you and keep you going. You will probably find you go to the toilet less the less tea and coffee you drink as the caffeine will make you pass water more quickly.
  • When your urine is really pale yellow and almost clear, you are consuming enough water. The darker your pee, the more dehydrated you are and the more pressure you are putting on your whole body, including your kidneys.
  • Always carry a small bottle of water with you and never re-use plastic water bottles (evian etc) as these are only intended for single use and the plastics can leach into tap water once refilled. Not great for the environment so invest in your own water bottle if you are worried about plastic waste.

If you would like further dietary advice, or gain clarity with your IBS symptoms, please book your call with Helen Mileham, IBS specialist today, using this link.

Feed Yourself Better With Glorious Food!