Updated: Feb 21
It’s free and easily accessible, yet so many people do not drink enough water?
As adults, our bodies are made up of approximately 55-60% water, yet many of us don’t fully understand the importance of keeping hydrated. Water is essential for the health and well-being of every system within our bodies and keeps our vital organs, including the heart and brain, working effectively. It moves nutrients and oxygen around the body, helps us to flush out waste products and even lubricates our joints. Dehydration occurs when we don’t take on board sufficient water to compensate for fluids that we are losing through breathing, sweating and digestion, and in addition to making us feel thirsty, dehydration can also result in headaches, tiredness, light-headedness and confusion.
Are you well Hydrated with enough water?
If you are well hydrated, you should be urinating frequently, and your urine should be a pale straw colour. Dark urine and going several hours without needing the toilet are signs that you need to drink more liquids. Understanding just how important good hydration is for us is the key to ensuring we make it a priority in our everyday life.
Water is essential metabolism
Toxins that we ingest are flushed from our bodies via the kidneys and via the bowel. Without sufficient water, our kidneys are unable to work efficiently, and we risk illness from conditions such as kidney stones and urine infections. Our digestive system needs water to move food through the bowel, taking nutrients through our bodies. Poor hydration means that this process works slower and less efficiently which means that we can become constipated – this slowing of our metabolism ultimately means that the body is burning fewer calories, so by upping our intake of water we can help to boost metabolism, flush out waste, help the body to stop retaining water and help to reduce weight by boosting energy.
Water is the key to youthful looking skin
Just as our internal organs require water to function, so do our skin cells. Regularly feeding our skin – and that includes our hair – with water helps the cells to regularly renew and maintain elasticity. Not only can water help to achieve healthier looking skin and fewer wrinkles, it can also help in tackling skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. Many people claim that good old water is the key to their youthful complexion rather than a drawer full of face and body creams!
Make time to drink enough water
Having busy lives where we are on the go all day can be a real barrier to staying hydrated, and there are many situations we routinely and regularly find ourselves in where it isn’t possible to always have a bottle of water to hand or to be able to stop to make a cup of tea. In such instances, it is really important to find the time to grab a drink of some sort, even if there is no time for food. Setting an alarm as a reminder to take liquid on board is a great tip. When we are less busy, we can really help ourselves by making sure there is water to hand at key stages of our day: by the bed, in the bag that we regularly carry around such as handbag or briefcase, in the car and always on the table with food.
The good and the not so good sources
Talking of foods, there are some that can be deliberately chosen for their high water content such as smoothies, soups and vegetable juices – or even just choosing to eat raw vegetables, salad and fruit. Every little helps! Drinks such as tea and coffee can be counted towards our daily water intake, and although caffeine is a diuretic, it is a fairly mild one, and our bodies will partially absorb the water content in these drinks. The one liquid that DOES have a significant diuretic effect is alcohol which severely limits the water absorption process and at the same time causes our kidneys to work extra hard to expel all the liquid as urine. The best course of action when enjoying a drink or two is to take on board the same amount of liquid in the form of water to counteract the effects of alcohol.
The building block of life
Ultimately, water is the world’s first and foremost medicine: It helps to keep muscles strong, it thins the blood helping to filter out potentially harmful substances, it has been shown to help relieve pain, and it keeps our brains and vital organs working effectively. There is no reason that we cannot help ourselves to stay healthy very easily and very inexpensively.