Wondering why everyone says that drinking water is so good for Type 2 diabetes? We’ll show you the hidden benefits of drinking more water, along with how you can enjoy drinking it and the strategies to ensure you’re drinking enough.
How much water is enough each day with Type 2 diabetes?
Our body loses water each day through breathing, sweating, and digestion so it’s vital to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
For many of us, the ‘eight glasses a day’ guideline may not be enough. And whilst it is possible that you can drink TOO much water at around 5-6L, for most people this isn’t an issue. Research shows that water may cut the risk of high blood sugar so it makes sense that it be the main source of hydration for Type 2 diabetes.
Listen to your body’s messages of thirst for water
Thirst is your body’s message to you that water is required. However also be aware that:
- Thirst signals can get lost. The good news is that they can return to ‘normal’ too.
- Thirst signals can get confused with hunger signals. Time will help to distinguish. Drink water first and wait 15 minutes and see if you are still hungry?
- If you notice thirst, check if it is actually thirst. If so, you actually needed a drink 2 hours ago!
What about all the toilet stops needed with higher water intake?
Yes indeed, you can thank your body (and kidneys) for doing its job well, flushing out toxins and wastes and hydrating your cells for you. Water helps clean our system beautifully which is why drinking water is so good for Type 2 diabetes.
Most people urinate 6-7 times a day with adequate water intake. If it is more, go with it, knowing that it is a very healthy issue to have (unless it is polydipsia). A dehydrated body holds on to every drop of water it gets and it isn’t a good sign if you don’t need many toilet stops in a day or if you’re consuming less water to try and avoid them.
The many hidden benefits of drinking enough water
Before you reach for a coffee or that extra snack consider these myriad ways that water supports and benefits your body and health:
- Headaches Often a sign of dehydration, water is a natural medicine to try the next time you have a headache.
- Energy and better performance are possible as water supports our muscles, brain and our joints.
- Suppress appetite. Have a glass 15-30 minutes before a meal to suppress appetite, particularly as thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
- Replenish electrolytes Add some salt and make it a balancing electrolyte drink to replenish your body.
- Weight loss A body with enough water allows for the process of weight loss. Dehydration causes stress in your body, and a stressed body will hold onto weight, rather than shed it.
- Digestion Water keeps bowel motions soft and well-formed for improved digestion.
- Nutrition Water is our transport system to circulate nutrition around the body and into the cells.
- Liver Health The liver needs water to work optimally.
- Mood elevator Try water for a better mood as it cleanses toxins out of your system.
- Skin health Want plumped, hydrated looking skin? Drinking more water supports skin hydration.
The list goes on and you get the drift – water is a cheap and essential medicine so start monitoring your intake today!
How to have the healthiest water intake for Type 2 diabetes
Our bodies are often too acidic which is not a healthy state for the many processes that occur daily.
Alkalizing water with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar will rebalance acidity, support less inflammation and improve oxygen delivery.
Lemon in water, or allowing a container of water to sit, will help eliminate the chlorine from the tap water.
Boiled water, then cooled, is also a healthy way to drink water, filtering tap water from the heavy metals usually found in tap water. Drinking mineral water which has essential minerals allows for these minerals to be absorbed and be utilised by the body.
But please remember to drink out of good water bottles that do not leach chemicals into your drinking water.
Timing your water intake for the best effect
For optimal digestive health, it’s best to keep water away from food. Consume water anytime up to 15-20 minutes before a meal and then refrain from water for 2 hours after a meal.
By providing this water-free window, it ensures that the various digestive juices that are needed to chop and digest the food we consume aren’t diluted, which needs to happen within about 20 minutes of eating.
This is quite a different regime to what is happening for many people who consume fluid at mealtimes. A drinking plan can be helpful to use water for optimum health.
Find a way to drink adequate water each day
For many, it’s remembering to drink water, consistently and often that is the next challenge. Consider an App, a reminder on your phone, or perhaps even pouring the days quota out to view, drinking 2 glasses each time. Choosing warm water, fizzy water, or naturally flavoured water may also help increase your intake.
A common question is whether your water intake can be contributed to with herbal tea. The body needs at least half of its water quota as pure water and preferably most for your daily intake. All other types of drinks need to be digested. Does it need to be evenly spread out throughout the day? Ideally yes, but whatever you drink will be utilised with thanks by your body.
Now some tough love…don’t enjoy drinking water? Mark it as one of things you need to do even if you don’t enjoy it, for the benefit of your health, both short and long term. Learn to remember, or rather, re-remember to drink water for the best health possible and to support your journey to reversing diabetes. Your kidneys, blood pressure, joints, muscles, brain and more will soak it up and return to you in kind.
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