Drinking water is one of those things that seems so simple yet is so, so important and is easily overlooked. Since our body is comprised of 60% water, it is essential for us to hydrate so we can maintain optimum cellular function within the body. Blood is composed of about 92% water – this water balance in the blood is essential because it is what allows us to transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. For this reason, staying hydrated can improve our mood, improve skin tone and increase self-esteem.
Without further ado, let’s go through the roles water plays in our daily lives and how it functions within ourselves.
Why do we need Water?
To maintain optimum cellular function, our bodies need water. We lose water through urination and sweating, so in order to replenish the water lost, we must drink. Without water, your cells will not be able to function efficiently and this will leave you feeling tired, sluggish and lethargic.
Water enables the blood to keep flowing properly, supports healthy brain function, helps create saliva, keeps you energised, aids maintenance of internal body temperature, keeps skin moist and aids digestion.
Guidelines suggest we aim for 6 – 8 glasses a day, but these should be increased based on temperature and daily activity levels.
Can I get Water from more than just ‘Water’?
Yes, yes you can obtain water from other sources. Sources of water that can contribute to your daily intake include tea, coffee, milk, soft drinks and fruit juices although I wouldn’t recommend soft drinks and fruit juices as regular drinks due to their high sugar content which can cause blood sugar spikes and can potentially harm your teeth.
Avoid alcohol as although it is a drink, alcohol causes more water to be lost as urine and so actually causes dehydration.
You can also obtain a lot of your water from fruit, vegetables and soups! Fruit and vegetables tend to be made of over 80% water which is why they have such a low calorie content per 100g.
How can Water help Regulate Eating and Dieting?
Water is usually an essential, but overlooked part of eating. Try to choose low calorie beverages and consume lots of water rich foods – fruits, vegetables, soups, broths and beans.
Foods with a high water content tend to be healthier, more filling and can help to naturally moderate your calorie intake by increasing your satiety. Due to the higher volume, the food requires more chewing, and so is absorbed more slowly by the body helping you to feel more full and ensuring you take longer to eat your meal. By taking your time when eating, this can help you realise whether you are full or actually hunger for more.
How does Water help Skin Look Good?
Your skin cells contain lots of water to act as a protective barrier in case excess water is lost. Dehydration causes your skin to look more dry and wrinkled since your cells have lost water. However, don’t think this means that ‘overhydrating’ can erase wrinkles because that can cause kidneys problems, liver disease and other issues.
How does Water help Remove Toxic Compounds?
Body fluids are used to transport waste products in and out of cells until they are permanently removed from the body. Consuming water, helps to provide the body fluids to carry out these processes. The main toxin your body is trying to remove is blood urea nitrogen, a compound which is soluble in water. Blood urea nitrogen is carried by the body fluids through the kidneys which filter out and remove this toxin and any other toxins. As long as your fluid intake is sufficient, your kidneys will be able to function effectively and carry out this process of removing toxic compounds from your body.
When your intake of fluids is adequate, your urine should be light coloured and free of odour. If your fluid intake is too low, the concentration, colour and odour of your urine increases because the kidneys are trapping or ‘keeping’ some water for other bodily functions and cannot afford to spare the extra water in your urine transporting toxins out of the body.
How does Water help Regulate Bowel Function?
Ensuring adequate hydration keeps the digested food flowing through your gastrointestinal tract, helping prevent constipation. When you lack fluid, your body tries to obtain fluid by taking water from your faeces to maintain hydration – this causes constipation.
Am I Drinking Enough Water?
If you have any of the following symptoms of dehydration you may not be drinking enough water:
- Little or no urine
- Urine that is darker than usual
- Dry mouth.
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Extreme thirst
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- No tears when crying
Additionally, physically active individuals should be aware that their water requirements will be higher due to increased fluid loss through sweat during exercise. When the weather is hot, be aware your body will require more water as more fluid will be lost through sweat. Also, if you are suffering from illness increased water intake can help recovery.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- 3.7 litres of fluids for men
- 2.7 litres of fluid for women
Just remember, this includes water content in food as well!
Tips to Drink Enough Water
- As soon as you wake up, have a glass of water or maybe two. You lose a lot of water when you sleep and a glass of water in the morning is a great way to start your day.
- Have a drink or beverage with each meal.
- Keep a bottle of water with you – it’s far easier to get yourself to drink if you have water on hand.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables or water-rich foods.
That’s all for today’s post. I hope you can take something useful from that.
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