This time of the year it’s not so inviting to drink water, you feel you need a warming coffee or tea, but the truth is, cold or not you do need to stay hydrated – drinking water is vital to your good health and nothing can replace what it does in the human body.
Your body is around 70% water, but because the body cannot store water and is constantly losing water via sweating, urination, breathing and various other bodily functions, it is important that you drink water regularly to replace that which has been lost.
How much water should we be drinking?
One new report from Loughborough University showed that being dehydrated whilst performing everyday tasks like driving could lead to twice as many mistakes behind the wheel. We do know that not drinking enough water can be a big problem. But on the other hand research has said that there’s such a thing as too much water which can apparently lead to excessive sweating, insomnia and even death.
The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid and men should drink about 2.0 litres of fluid per day. That’s about eight glasses of 200ml each for a woman, and 10 glasses of 200ml each for a man. According to a study last year, out of 30,000 people less than one per cent drank eight glasses of pure water each day.
Experts have recommended matching intake to output, in other words you need to replace the water you are losing through exertion, exercise and natural bodily functions, but these are individual and depend on factors such as body weight and size, age and gender, levels of physical activity and environment temperature.
So confused so far?
Well however much water you drink you probably need to drink more, here are a few tips to help you increase the amount.
Start each day with a drink of water, instead of that coffee try a warm water with a slice of lemon or a squeeze of lime.
Busy day ahead? Pop a bottle of water in your bag, so you know you’ll have it to sip throughout the day.
Make sure there is always water on the table at mealtimes.
You will need to drink more when you exercise, or do any kind of physical activity such as brisk walking, gardening or even housework and DIY or spend time in hot environments.
Foods can also contribute to your daily water intake, you get about 20% through food, and those with a high water content, such as melon, soups, stews, fruit and vegetables, will make the greatest contribution.
Both still and sparkling water hydrate as well as each other.
If you’re feeling thirsty you’re already dehydrated so don’t wait until you need a drink, sip small amounts throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated.
You get an amount of water from tea, coffee and fizzy drinks but they’re all diuretics which increase the amount of water your body uses. Plain water is much healthier for you – it has no calories or sugar which can damage your teeth.
Water affects every single cell in your body in some way or the other, it enables your muscles to work harder and longer because it carries oxygen to all the cells of your body including your muscles. So if your skin is very dry, if your joints are aching, if you are always feeling tired or have constant headaches, it is a sign that you are dehydrated and need to drink more water.
Drinking water increases your cognitive function, brain needs water because it needs the oxygen in the water. It also supports nerve function, as it ensures that your electrolyte levels remain at the required levels necessary for them to relay messages to and from the brain.
So the message here is “keep hydrated”