When clients ask our advice on improving their nutrition, one of the first questions we ask is whether they are drinking enough water. Water is essential, not just for a healthy lifestyle, but for life itself! Our bodies are made up of between 60 and 70% water and it is essential for all our bodily functions. From regulating temperature to breathing, digestion to excretion, water is an essential component. Water is continually lost from the body through breathing, sweating and elimination so it needs to be continually replaced. If our body doesn’t have enough water, every process it undertakes is impaired. It can’t function effectively and our metabolism slows down as a result.
But what does this actually mean; how is the body affected by our water intake?
Here are some of the key benefits of drinking water:
Helps Weight Loss – or more specifically fat loss! When we are properly hydrated, our liver functions effectively, metabolising the carbohydrate, protein and fat that we eat.
Eliminates Toxins – ample water means a healthy kidney, which works effectively, removing toxins from the body through sweat and urine.
Aids Digestion – water is essential for good digestion and helps prevent constipation.
Improves Concentration – Our brains are 90% water and drinking a regular supply of water helps it to function effectively, improving focus and concentration.
Prevents Headaches – one of the symptoms of dehydration is frequent headaches and sometimes dizziness, staying hydrated can prevent these.
Improves Muscle Function and Energy Levels – muscles are made up of 75% water and can be dramatically affected by dehydration, becoming susceptible to fatigue, cramps and spasms. Good hydration levels ensure good muscle function and joint lubrication, allowing for better muscle performance and improved energy levels.
Prevents Water Retention – in a dehydrated state, the body will hold onto what little water it has, causing that puffy bloated feeling. As soon as you start to drink water regularly, the body will happily let go of these stores.
Improves skin tone – an adequate water supply works wonders on your skin, keeping it fresh and smooth, by plumping up skin cells and improving the appearance of wrinkles. A good supply of water also helps keep your eyes moist, improving their sparkle!
Helps to Fight Infections – good hydration levels ensure toxins are removed from the body, preventing urine infections and kidney stones. It also helps clear the airways, helping to prevent allergies and colds.
So, with such a compelling list of benefits what’s stopping you? Go and grab a glass of water!
As a rough guide, most adults should be drinking around 2 litres of water a day, but if you are exercising or in a hot or humid climate you may need to increase this amount. The colour of your urine is a good gauge of how hydrated you are – it should be pale in colour, if it is dark, this is a sure sign that you are dehydrated.
If you don’t enjoy drinking plain, cold water, spritz it up. Add a slice of lemon, lime or orange. Add some mint or cucumber. You may prefer to drink it hot or at room temperature. Experiment, find your favourite way and just drink it!