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Why it is important to drink water every day

Has anyone ever explained to you how much water you need to drink every day and why this is so important?

When you stop and appreciate that the human body is made up of 60% water, it makes sense to make sure that we drink enough.

What do we need water for?

We need water to keep us alive - our bodies do not function at all well when we are dehydrated. We need water to help with digestion, blood circulation, for temperature control, maintaining blood pressure, brain function, immunity and skin health as well as to support the many biochemical processes that happen constantly within us.

How much water is enough?

Generally, the advice is to aim for 2-3 litres per day because we lose water constantly when we breathe, sweat and go to the toilet so ideally this should be topped up throughout the day. When we are exercising, or the weather is very hot then the amount of water we need will increase.

How can you tell if you are drinking enough water?

Don’t rely on feeling thirsty – although this can be a strong reminder to drink, if you are thirsty, this means your body is already feeling dehydrated.

The easiest way is to keep an eye on the colour of your urine – if it is very pale yellow, in fact even colourless then you are probably drinking enough - but if it is dark with a strong smell then this is a good indication that you need to drink more.

Do other drinks count towards the recommended water intake?

Although tea and coffee, along with soft drinks can contribute to your fluid requirements, drinking water itself is definitely the best option – caffeine (which is in tea, coffee and many soft drinks) and alcohol all have a diuretic effect which means they actually cause us to pass more urine and so promote dehydration.

The other consideration about soft drinks is the sugar/ artificial sweeteners that these contain. These can have other effects on your body which may affect your health and well-being.

What are the benefits of drinking more water?

  1. Apart from the essential health benefits of providing a medium for carrying vital substances and nutrients around the body in the blood stream, essential water also helps to lubricate and protect the tissues.
  2. Water support oral health by increasing saliva production. This not only supports digestion but also helps to keep the gums and teeth clean and healthy.
  3. Water plays an important role in flushing out waste – the kidneys work better if they are well hydrated and this can help prevent urine infections
  4. you can easily become constipated if you are dehydrated so drink plenty of water to make it easier to move your bowels
  5. Water itself contains minerals that are required by your body
  6. Water helps to lubricate joints and ligaments and provides an essential shock absorbent function to prevent injury and pain.
  7. Water is essential for brain health – even without the thumping headache that accompanies severe dehydration, water is also required to help us to think clearly.
  8. Drinking more water can help with weight management – the brain cannot tell the difference between being hungry and thirsty, so why not have a drink of water to take the edge of your appetite?
  9. Water plays an important role in exercise performance. Muscles do not work as well when we are dehydrated
  10. When skin is dehydrated, it not only looks dull but is more vulnerable to skin disorders such as acne and eczema – and dehydrated skin also looks prematurely wrinkly
  11. Water plays an essential role in temperature regulation – when the body gets too hot then as extra sweat evaporates it can effectively cool down

Top tips for drinking more water

  • Carry a reusable water bottle (500ml) and deliberately aim to drink a full bottle in the morning and afternoon
  • Have a large glass of water before every meal
  • Flavour your water by drinking fruit / herbal teas or even steeping fruit teabags in cold water
  • Add cucumber or mint or fresh fruit to your water
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables that contain high amounts of water (cucumber, melon, strawberries and grapes are great sources of water)
  • Set yourself a goal and then use reminders or an app throughout the day

So, it will no doubt be clear by now that water is actually the most important nutrient in our body and with a little bit of planning and attention to making sure we drink more, we can make a significant impact on every aspect of our health and well-being. 

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