We all know that in order to stay healthy you need to eat more fruit and veg. The benefits are obvious. The vitamins and minerals in them are necessary to keep you healthy. We also all know that water is necessary, but what does it do?
The recommended water intake for an adult is about 2 litres a day. That’s roughly speaking 8 glasses. It sounds like a fair bit and actually, it is. We do get some water from our food of course but if you want to start hitting that magical figure you need to get drinking.
Why is hydration important
Your body consists of about 70% water. Most of this is stored in your bodies cells. If your hydration level drops by as little as 2% it can have a negative effect on you. Waters actual purpose within your body is multi-faceted. It carries out a range of functions: from aiding with the lubrication of joints to maintaining your bodies temperature, and the expulsion of waste products. Water is vital for all these processes and more.
Obviously drinking a lot of water is a great way to maintain your fluid levels, but honestly trying to keep down two litres a day can be a chore. Especially if you aren’t a big fan of the taste. Fortunately, there are other ways of getting it into your system. Some of them may surprise you. Ice Lollys for instance. Who doesn’t like a lolly? They are fluid heavy. Certain fruits contain a high water content too, watermelon and cucumber to name but a couple.
Of course, there are ways that your body can lose fluids. Drinking alcohol is one that many of us don’t realise. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes you urinate a lot more than you would normally. Although your urine contains the waste product urea it also contains a lot of water.
Exercise is another activity that can dehydrate us. When we exercise we lose fluids through sweating. You can also lose fluids when you are ill through vomiting and loose stools.
Symptoms of dehydration
Some of them are fairly obvious. Your skin can become quite dry if you are dehydrated. You may become thirsty and have a dry mouth. Headaches and dizziness are not uncommon if your fluid levels are low. Although you have to be severely dehydrated it can be fatal too! Although this is very rare unless you have some sort of condition causing you to rapidly lose fluids or you are severely malnourished.
In addition to the obvious health benefits, there are some slightly less obvious benefits that are worth considering. Water is great if you are dieting. If you have a glass before a meal it fills up your stomach so you will naturally feel more full. In this sense, it is a natural appetite suppressant. It also aids digestion.
Drinking water is the ultimate hangover cure. As previously mentioned alcohol dehydrates you, this is why we get hangovers. Often simply having a pint of water at the end of a heavy drinking session can make the difference between you waking up the morning after and being sick, or waking up fresh as a daisy.
It is also a great headache cure. A lot of headaches are caused by dehydration anyway so putting some water in your system negates that and helps you feel better.
It is also really good for your skin. This isn’t anecdotal there are video diaries on youtube of people who take to drinking more water for a month and the positive impact it has on their skin is dramatic.