Source Of Life

The rewards of living in the tropics are well-known – the great weather, the tropical fruit – but there are also challenges. One of the most important things is to make sure we are sufficiently hydrated. Upon first arrival, most foreigners tend to drink gallons of water, not leaving home without a trusty (cold!) water bottle. But the longer we stay in Vietnam, the more accustomed we become to the weather, the less we worry about drinking enough water. Besides, we start to consume other beverages!

Here’s the hard truth - most of us are dehydrated enough to cause damage to our health.

Thirst begins with 1% dehydration, and by 2% our working capacity is diminished. Being vulnerable to stress happens at 4% dehydration. It takes 20% dehydration to cause death.

The trouble is that even before we notice feelings of thirst, water loss affects normal bodily functions, making us more susceptible to stress while reducing the ability of the immune system to fight off disease. Luckily there are some simple ways to check if we’re drinking enough water.

Inadequate amounts of water make skin flaky and dry, hence more susceptible to getting lines & wrinkles.

  • Check your urine! If it’s colourless, you’re adequately hydrated. Drink more the darker & thicker it is.
  • Headaches can be caused by dehydration.
  • An inability to concentrate or think clearly may also be due to a lack of water in your body – remember, your brain is mainly water!
  • Feeling tired
  • Becoming disengaged

Unfortunately, there are no alternatives to water. Alcohol, tea (except green tea and herbal teas), coffee and most carbonated drinks need to be limited or cut out altogether. Remember, moderation is the key.

How Much Water Do We Need?

Outside the tropics, 2 litres of water per day are recommended for optimum results. Others recommend 1 litre for every 10°C, which would mean 3 to 3.5 litres for tropical residents. At first glance this might appear difficult to achieve and you may well find yourself going to the toilet very often! The good news is, the body will quickly get used to this quantity of water and you will even start to feel thirsty if you drink less.

Air-conditioned offices, homes and aeroplanes are very dry environments and dehydrate a person very quickly; therefore you need to drink at least 500ml bottle of water every hour to compensate. During exercise, drink water before, during and after, at least 1 to 1.5 litres. Also add electrolytes such as Hydrite (readily available from any pharmacist).

Hydration Regime During The Day

Start by drink a large glass (250+ml) water to restore bodily fluids lost during the night and also to help detoxify the liver & kidneys. Keep drinking throughout the day, especially replacing your afternoon coffee or tea with water. Drink your last glass before going to bed but not so close to bedtime during the night.

Benefits Of Being Fully Hydrated

The two main benefits are healthy liver and kidney. A healthy liver is able to process and neutralize the toxins that we take into our bodies on a daily basis through food and so on. Healthy kidneys are necessary to process fluid wastes from the body and to purify the bloodstream.

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