Even though we all know we need water to survive, there are still lots of people who either do not drink it or find it difficult to include it in their daily diet. 60% of the human body is water, which includes our brains, hearts, lungs, skin, muscles and bones, so, it’s easy to see why water is so important. Here we go into more detail to show you its health benefits and why you should be drinking more water.
Helps with digestion
To digest your food properly it needs to be broken down and drinking water before, during and after a meal is any easy way to help your body. Drinking water will enable you to get more out of your meals and help you avoid getting indigestion and heartburn. It’s an easy habit to pick up if you don’t do it already and it can also make you a more regular visitor to the toilet.
Fibre is often highlighted as a great way to prevent constipation, but the regular drinking of water will also improve your bowel movements. Ideally, your body needs a good balance of fibre, magnesium and water to help you avoid experiencing constipation. Drinking still or sparkling water can also be used to ease symptoms if you are already constipated.
Protects your joints and tissues
Our joints, tissues and spinal cord need good levels of lubrication and cushioning to keep our body healthy and drinking water can also help. This is especially true if you suffer from conditions like arthritis, as it can help ease the pain and discomfort it causes. The better your joints, tissues and spinal cord feel, the more physical activity you will be able to enjoy.
Keeps you cooler
Your body temperature fluctuates depending on your environment and staying hydrated will help keep it more regulated. When you sweat it is a natural reaction design to cool you down, but if you don’t replace it with more water your body temperature will start to rise. Plasma and electrolytes are lost from your body when it’s dehydrated, so drink lots of water to replenish as you need.
Fights off illness
Water can also help fight off some medical conditions. This includes constipation, kidney stones, exercise-induced asthma, hypertension and urinary tract infections. The minerals, vitamins and nutrients contained in your food will also be absorbed much easier if you drink a good amount of water, which builds your bodily defences, so you have a better chance of staying healthy for longer.
Increases your energy
Studies have been carried out that suggest water can also boost your metabolism. As a result, this can have a positive impact on your overall energy levels. As little as 500ml of water can increase your metabolic rate by as much as 30% and the effects will last for more than an hour, which could be helpful for anyone watching their weight.
Makes you feel better
Drinking water has both a psychological and physiological impact on our bodies. It feels clean, smooth and refreshing, which can be calming for the mind and help change our mood. If you are dehydrated, fatigue and confusion is much harder to combat, and drinking water can instantly help you regain control.
You can be more active
To get the most out of your physical activity you need to be hydrated. Athletes can lose as much as 10% of their bodyweight during activity, and it plays a vital role in helping you achieve peak physical performance. The more hydrated you are, the more power, strength and endurance you’ll be able to rely on, so you can hit your exercise goals without putting unwanted stress onto your body.
Helps your body to dispose of waste
Your body needs water to urinate, sweat and have regular bowel movements. Drinking water ensures you have a healthier stool and supports your kidney as it works to filter out waste as you urinate. It will also increase your chances of avoiding kidney stones and other unwanted health conditions that could develop over time.
Your skin will look brighter
Water intake helps to keep your skin hydrated and can even promote collagen production. However, bear in mind that it can’t do everything alone to reduce the effects of ageing, as how you age is connected directly to your genes, diet, sun protection and a number of other factors.
How much water should you drink every day?
Knowing exactly how much water to drink every day can be difficult, as there seems to be a different answer provided almost everywhere you look. The NHS recommend you drink 6-8 glasses of water per day, which is the same as 1.5 to 2.5 litres. However, when you drink water also matters, so you should start in the morning and drink steadily and slowly throughout the day. Cramming it all in the evening with increase pressure on your bladder and require you to visit the toilet more frequently, which is counter-productive to staying hydrated.
If you struggle with the taste of water, the good news is you don’t necessarily have to overcome your dislike of the plain variety. Water intake also counts as lower fat milk and/or lower sugar or sugar free drinks such as tea, coffee and low sugar cordials. It is also important to be aware of the stimulating effect these types of drinks can have on the body. They can cause you to urinate more quickly, which can make it more difficult to remain hydrated.
Hydration levels are also affected by a number of different factors. This includes our age, as elderly people are more vulnerable to dehydration, so it is important older adults drink water on a regular basis. Exercise has an impact and water lost through sweat needs to be replaced. Illnesses, such as vomiting, and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration as can alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes your body to remove fluids from your body through your renal system faster than other liquids.