When you feel thirsty your body is already well on the way to being dehydrated. A glass of water first thing in the morning is the first step but sipping water throughout the day is hugely important. Remember fluids other than pure water, such as your morning coffee, don’t meet your body’s need for hydration like water does. Coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and alcohol all act as diuretics, meaning they have the opposite effect and remove water and nutrients from your body.
So how much water do we really need?
The common recommendation is to drink at least two litres of water everyday. However other factors can increase the amount you should be aiming for. If you’re exercising, live in a warm climate, are pregnant or breastfeeding or suffering from some illnesses, such as fever or diarrhea, you will most likely need to increase this amount.
When’s the best time to drink water?
It’s OK to have some water with meals to help your digestive enzymes function properly but the majority of the water you drink should be sipped in-between meals.
If your body is adequately hydrated, you’ll benefit from the following:
Avoid fatigue – water is one of the most important energy sources for the body. If you’re feeling sluggish and sleepy, reach for a glass of water rather than a soda or energy drink!
Maintain optimum blood pressure – when the human body is fully hydrated, your blood is 92% water! This means blood can flow freely through veins and arteries, helping prevent high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.
Healthy skin – if you know someone who has glowing skin, ask them and you’ll find they drink A LOT of water. Being hydrated allows the body to flush out nasty toxins. Without sufficient water skin can become red, irritated and inflamed and can exacerbate conditions like acne, psoriasis and premature aging.
Ease digestive issues – drinking the right amount of water can help eliminate and reduce bloating, gas, IBS, acid reflux and ulcers. Those who suffer from constipation should up their water intake to help move waste material through the intestinal tract quicker. You will experience less frequent constipation since water helps move waste matter more quickly through the intestinal tract.
Maintain a healthy weight – when the body’s cells are lacking water they won’t function correctly to create the energy we need. A signal is then sent to our brains to eat to get energy from elsewhere. This leads to eating unnecessarily frequently or more than we really need. To avoid this, simply stay hydrated! Replacing other sugary drinks with water will also naturally help maintain a healthy weight.
Maintain healthy joints – most of the cushioning in the body’s cartilage is made up of water, so if we’re regularly dehydrated, our bones will feel stiff and our joints will be adversely affected.
Maintain a healthy bladder and kidneys – adequate water intake will help flush out toxins and reduce the risk of bladder and kidney infections. These organs are especially sensitive to disease without proper hydration as they’re responsible for eliminating stored toxins and bodily waste.
Maintain the correct cholesterol levels – when the body is dehydrated it will start to produce more cholesterol so that cells can still function properly.
Slow down the aging process – all the human body’s cells need loads of water to function correctly. If you’re regularly dehydrated for long periods of time, every cell and organ has to work harder, meaning we will age faster. Drinking lots of water keeps you looking and feeling younger for longer and who doesn’t want that!
Add a few slices of lemon, lime or cucumber slices and mint to a pitcher of water and sip away throughout the day – far better for you than drinks loaded with refined sugar.