Hydrate Yourself to Better Health
Did you know that around 60% of your body is made up of water? Water controls a vast portion of your bodily functions, including digestion, absorption and circulation of essential nutrients, as well as creating saliva, reducing illness and helping to maintain your body temperature.
How drinking water benefits the body
Your body loses water throughout the day through a variety of processes. That fluid must be topped up to maintain optimum health. “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health,” says Nephrologist Steven Guest.
When you’re not drinking enough water you become dehydrated, especially if you’ve been to the gym or if you’re in a warm climate. Water keeps you hydrated without the excess sugar of sweetened drinks and reduces the likelihood of headaches, faintness, and sickness – wherever you are in the world.
When you work out or perform physically demanding tasks, including something as simple as lifting boxes, your muscles seek electrolyte-rich fluids to energise them. Without water, your muscles will become tired, and you may feel achy for days. This exhaustion and pain can be avoided with just a glass or two of water when it’s needed. To keep your body fit, you should drink plenty of water.
If you’re conscious of your appearance, especially skin health, you’ll be pleased to hear that water can also help to get your skin looking radiant. Unfortunately this cuts both ways, leaving your skin looking tired if you don’t consume enough water. Dr Justine Hextall, dermatologist at The Harley Medical Group, explains:
“If we’re dehydrated this will show on the skin, turning it dry, tight and flaky. Anybody can suffer with dehydrated skin from time to time. When skin is dehydrated it lacks elasticity, fine lines and under eye circles often appear more pronounced, and skin tends to look flat. Whereas hydrated skin just glows, looking plumper, calmer and reflects light better hence the term glowing skin.”
Can drinking water help weight loss?
According to research published in The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 2016, those who drink one extra 8-ounce glass of water per day consumed 68 fewer calories; those who drank three extra glasses of water consumed 205 fewer calories, leading to 1/2 pound of weight loss per week.
When dieting, water can suppress your appetite for meals. It’s been found that the human body often mistakes hunger for thirst, so if you’re feeling peckish between meals, you should try drinking a glass of water before delving into your unhealthy snack drawer. Research also suggests that water increases metabolism which, in turn, aids weight loss. In short, drinking more water can help you lose weight.
How much water should I drink?
The recommended daily intake of water varies depending on gender, age, build, and activity. On average, men should consume between 2.5 and 3 litres of water every day, and women 2 to 2.7 litres.
Remember, in warmer climates your body sweats more, so you should drink more than the stated amounts. Even though it can be tempting to drink juice or fizzy drinks, pure water is always best.
Increase water consumption
Around 20% of your daily water intake should come from food. Vegetables have a very high water content. Courgettes, radishes and celery are more than 95% water, closely followed by cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, and peppers. It will benefit you considerably if you choose to eat your greens.
Otherwise, drinking more water is about making lifestyle changes. Carrying a water bottle with you is an excellent way to increase and accurately measure the amount of water you’re drinking each day. Similarly you could aim to drink a glass of water before each meal, which will also help digestion.
To aid a good night’s sleep and increase water consumption, take a cup of herbal tea to bed with you. Regardless of your lifestyle, water is guaranteed to benefit your health. Drink more water!