Water is the body’s principle chemical and makes up ~60-70% of body weight. Our bodies are constantly losing water, mainly through urine and we need to keep replenishing it to function properly. You’d be surprised how common it is for people to be in a constant state of mild dehydration. Drinking enough water is an easy habit to pick up with major health benefits.
Water is essential for
- Flushing toxins out of vital organs
- Helping digestion and metabolic function
- Regulating body temperature
- Generating energy
- Supporting muscle and joint elasticity
- Transporting important compounds around the body
The amount of water you need is dependent on a number of factors such as body size, body weight, climate and activity levels. A rule of thumb for adults is to drink about 2-3 litres a day. Signs you are dehydrated include feeling thirsty, dark urine and not passing much urine when you go to the toilet. It’s interesting to note that once we become thirsty we are already moderately dehydrated as this mechanism takes time to appear.
Lack of water leads to:
- Feeling dizzy
- Loss of strength
- Water retention – if your body is dehydrated it holds more water as a conservation mechanism and leads to bloating.
- Hunger – dehydration is often confused with feeling hungry so staying hydrated is great for weight management.
Water is the healthiest choice for quenching your thirst as it has no calories and contains no sugar. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try sparkling water or add some fruit such as a slice of lemon, orange or lime. Coconut water is also great after a workout as it contains electrolytes.
The easiest way to increase your water intake is to carry a BPA free water bottle around at all times and sip water slowly throughout the day.
In addition to drinking water, fruit and vegetables can contribute up to 20% of your daily water needs. Just another reason you should be eating lots of F&V!
It is very important to hydrate before, during and after exercise as it maintains your state of hydration and prevents fatigue. As you up your water intake you may need to urinate much more but your body will adjust.
Avoid over consumption of alcohol as it’s a diuretic and will cause you to lose more water. The symptoms of a hangover are largely due to severe dehydration. If you do have a few alcoholic drinks, makes sure to hydrate between drinks. Your body will thank you the next day!
Invest in a good water bottle and give your body the love it deserves! 😉