More from Food Matters on 9 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore
One likely signal: Chapped lip
Background: Lips are a reflection of the health and hydration of the entire body. “If you are well hydrated, then your lips will be well hydrated,” says Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, clinical nutritionist and author of Digestive Wellness (McGraw-Hill, 2004). Less water in the body means less moisture for the skin– the body’s largest organ. The delicate tissue of the lips is extra sensitive to drought. “If you are constantly using lip balm or lip gloss to sooth chapped lips, it’s a sign you need to drink up,” says Lipski.
Other signals: Headaches, infrequent urination, dark yellow or smelly urine, dry skin, slow turgor (meaning that if you pinch the skin on the back of your hand, it doesn’t snap right back into place). Although the aging process slows turgor down somewhat, even in older adults it still should return to normal within a second or two.
How to respond: Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day can be intimidating, says Swift, so if you’re not able to quaff that amount, you can still get hydrated by sipping herbal tea and working additional servings of vegetables into your daily diet. “The transition to a more whole-foods diet puts us on autopilot to get more water because they are naturally high in moisture,” says Swift. And, make sure to include whole foods that are rich in essential fatty acids, such as nuts and seeds, avocados, and anchovies and sardines, which help maintain healthy cell membranes and hold in moisture.
I recommend that client drink at least 6 glasses of water a day. Keeping water in a glass bottle in the fridge can help you keep track of how much you have drunk in a day. Having a glass of water on your desk or side-board can also remind you to take a sip throughout the day. Drinking water may also help reduce unnecessary snacking. If you have a headache, the first thing to try is to sip a couple of glasses of water. From my experience, although headaches may be linked to business, travelling, concentration etc, those factors may also have prevented adequate water consumption, so a glass of water may be what is needed.