Why is Water so Important for our Bodies?
Water is the true essence of life. In order for your body to operate at its maximum efficiency, you need to ensure that you stay well hydrated by drinking water and consuming moisture-rich foods. Drinking a sufficient amount of water keeps your skin and hair looking its best, helps prevent disease and illness, and improves your overall health and wellbeing.
How Much Water Should You Drink A Day?
In order to get – and stay – in optimal health, you need to ensure that you drink enough water each day. Most people feel thirsty on a regular basis, ensuring that they intake an adequate amount of liquid, but others do not feel thirst reliably. Pay special attention to how much water you are consuming to ensure that your body is prompting you to drink enough.
The NHS recommends that a good guide for water intake (including all non-caffeinated fluids) is 6-8 250 mL glasses of water per day. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a slightly higher amount, of which approximately 30% will come from food:
• 2.5 litres of water for men
• 2.0 litres of water for women per day
This might sound like an alarming amount of water to consume, but remember that we tend to get around 20-30% of our daily water intake from the food we eat. We also tend to drink tea, coffee, and other liquids. If you are living in a hot climate, or if you exercise extensively, you will need to increase your water intake.
If you do not consume enough water, you will become dehydrated. One of the easiest ways to assess your hydration levels is to inspect the colour of your urine. If it is dark, you are likely dehydrated – ideally, it should be pale yellow or clear.
What Role Does Water Play In The Body?
Simply put, water helps to keep our body hydrated and in good working order. But why is hydration so important?
Water Helps You To Produce Saliva
Saliva might be a rather unpleasant subject, but it is necessary to help you to swallow and break down your food. Its main component is water, along with mucus, enzymes, and electrolytes.
It Keeps Your Body Temperature Regulated
If you are exercising or simply in a hot climate, your body is producing sweat in order to stay cool. If you don’t replace the water you are losing, your body temperature will quickly rise back up, and you’ll lose important electrolytes.
Water Protects Your Tissues and Joints
In order to maintain a full range of motion, you need to keep your joints, muscles, and spinal cord well lubricated. Water helps to cushion your joints, and can help you stay in good physical shape.
It Helps You Get Rid Of Waste Products
You lose a lot of nasties through your perspiration, urination, and defecation, and you need an adequate amount of water in your system to sweat, urinate, and defecate! If you become dehydrated, you will have problems eliminating waste products from your body.
Water Prevents Constipation
While you might associate eating a lot of fibre rich foods with regularity, this is not the only way to prevent constipation. In order to keep things moving, you must drink enough fluid to ensure that your bowel movements contain an adequate amount of water. If you fail to drink enough water, you will likely find that you become – or remain – constipated.
Water Can Help You Counteract Fluid Loss From Certain Medications
Certain medicines can affect the body’s fluid balance, resulting in more water being lost as you urinate more frequently. Medicines that can increase the risk of dehydration are diuretics, laxatives, antacids and blood pressure tablets.
It Helps You Digest Your Food
If you want to effectively digest your food, you should drink plenty of water before, during, and after your meal. Water helps your body break down what you eat, and eases the process of digestion.
It Helps You To Absorb Nutrients
As water helps to break down your food, it also helps your body to absorb the important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in what you’ve eaten. The result? You gain the most benefit possible from your diet.
Drinking Water Helps You To Lose Weight
Drinking water helps to boost your metabolism, which can help you to shed some kilos. Water will also help you to feel satiated and full, and prevent over-eating.
It Improves Your Blood Oxygen Levels
Water helps boost the oxygen levels in your blood, improving your circulation and benefiting your entire body.
Water Will Boost Your Metabolism, And Your Energy
In order to activate your metabolism and boost your energy levels, you need to drink the recommended amount of water each day. Many people report feeling a boost of energy when they drink a glass of water, something you should do upon waking each day.
Staying Hydrated Keeps Your Brain In Good Working Order
If you want to be at the top of your cognitive game, you need to keep your brain hydrated. If you fail to consume enough water, you will experience fuzzy thinking, a lack of focus, diminished memory, and depleted cognitive function.
Drinking Water Improves Your Mood
Dehydration is not only responsible for fuzzy thoughts and poor memory, it can also cause you to feel fatigued, confused, and anxious. In order to be in your best mental state, you need to look after your health and wellbeing, and that includes staying hydrated.
It Prevents Illnesses
Staying hydrated keeps you looking and feeling well in the short term, but it can also help to prevent more serious illnesses. These include kidney stones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), constipation, exercise-induced asthma, and hypertension. That’s not to mention that drinking water also helps you to absorb the necessary nutrients in your food, boosting your overall health.
Water Clears Your Skin and Improves Its Appearance
Are you looking for a sure-fire way to look old, tired, and haggard? It’s easy – simply don’t drink enough water! On the contrary, drinking enough water will keep your skin plump and hydrated from the inside out, and can even boost collagen. You will instantly look younger, fresher, and more awake if you limit alcohol in favour of drinking plenty of water.
How Much Of The Body Is Water?
All living organisms are comprised mainly of water – for some, it makes up more than 90% of their weight! For humans, approximately 60% of our bodies are comprised of water.
According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, your skin is 64% water, and your heart is 73% H2O, as is your brain. Your kidneys and muscles are 79% water, and most surprisingly, your bones are 31% water!
How Can Drinking Water Help Those That Suffer From Incontinence?
If you suffer from incontinence, you might be tempted to avoid drinking water, or fluids in general. After all, too much liquid in your body will cause you to have more episodes of incontinence, right?
Wrong. If you limit the amount of fluids that you drink, you will inadvertently lower the overall capacity of your bladder, and you will make your problem worse in the long run. Limiting your fluid can also trigger or worsen constipation. Limiting the amount of fluids that you drink can also increase the risk of bladder irritation, because your urine becomes more concentrated.
Drink approximately six to eight glasses of fluid a day, or follow the specific instructions given by your GP, especially if you have an underlying health condition where you need to restrict your fluid intake.
Raise A Glass (Of Water)
So, it turns out that the old adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ might have more truth than you thought – fruit is loaded with water, and help to keep you hydrated! Drink plenty of water, eat lots of hydrating fruits and vegetables, and stay away from alcohol and dehydrating foods – your body will thank you.