We know we are meant to drink water and stay hydrated, with many recommendations from health professionals and various professional bodies but do we know the many reasons why drinking water is so important to our general health?
Our bodies are made up of 2 thirds of water! This is why it’s so important to stay hydrated. It’s essential for proper kidney function, digestion and waste removal, for our heart and circulation, temperature regulation and brain function. It is the single most important component in the human body. If we lose as little as 1% of our water, this can affect our functioning. Water is found in every cell, organ and tissue. If we don’t consume enough water we can become dehydrated. Dehydration can be very serious and can lead to dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, eyes and lips, headaches, joint pain, decreased strength and endurance and constipation. If you’ve been ill with diarrhoea and vomiting it is even more likely you need to replace more fluids than usual, also to replace the salts and minerals.
Water assists the production of saliva and the stomach acid needed to properly digest your food. Water also helps the digestion of fiber and helps the body to absorb nutrients.
Adequate water levels help the body remove waste through sweat, urine production and faeces. Chronic dehydration can lead to kidney stones, being well hydrated can also prevent constipation.
Water makes up to 75% of the brain and even the lowest level of dehydration can affect your brain’s function and performance. So, drink water to keep your brain functioning!
Water helps keep the synovial fluid in your joints healthy. It provides nutrition, shock absorption, lubrication and cushioning.
Staying hydrated is good for the waistline, what better reason to drink more water!!! It not only revs up your metabolism, if you have a glass before you eat you are likely to eat less calories.
Starting any kind of exercise when under-hydrated can reduce your strength, power and endurance. Water is a key component in blood plasma and proper hydration improves your immune function, blood oxygenation and athletic performance.
Obviously the level of water you should drink is determined by whether you are male or female, your age, your health, your lifestyle, the type of job you do and the climate you live in. If you exercise more, you should take on board more water to replace what you may have lost. So how much? We’ve always been told to drink 6-8 glasses a day. The European Food Safety Authority issued a report suggesting women should have 2 litres a day and 2.5 litres for men. Remember, a lot of foods contain high amounts of water. Up to 20 % of our water intake can come from our food alone. Milk, sugar free drinks and tea and coffee all count.
How to take on more fluids
Drink a full glass of water first thing in a morning, a great start!
Make a smoothie for breakfast
Carry a water bottle with you and make it your goal to finish the bottle.
If you’re not a fan of plain tap water, try soda or water infusion. They are all fluids!
Have a salad for lunch or dinner, contributing to the amount of water you intake in a day. High water content foods include cucumber, tomatoes, watercress, watermelon, celery, apples, lettuce and zucchini.
Can you drink too much?
Keep an eye on your urine colour, this is the most obvious indication that you can be dehydrated. If your urine is a darker yellow you’re probably not drinking enough.
It is possible to drink too much water and go too far the other way, but people with healthy kidneys will simply go to the toilet more regularly.
To summarise, water plays a huge role in the normal and healthy functioning of the body and it’s systems. To feel sharp and stay your best, to keep your metabolism ticking over and to perform well you need to stay hydrated!!!
For more information on general wellbeing check out our other blogs!