The human body is made up of 60-70% water so it is no wonder we constantly hear that we need to drink more! It is essential for virtually every body function, including digestion, absorption, elimination of wastes and toxins, regulation of body temperature, and is involved in many chemical reactions throughout the body. It supports and lubricates our joints, is required to build body tissues and is the major constituent in blood. So as you can see, it is very important to life.
But HOW MUCH WATER do we really need??
A good indication as to how hydrated the body is, is from the colour of your urine. Yep you guessed it – that yellow tinge you see after you have been to the toilet is a great way to work out if you have drank enough or if in fact you are starting to dehydrate. A very light clear/yellow colour means that your body is hydrated, dark or bright yellow means its screaming out for more! 6-8 glasses a day is a general rule to follow for an adult however this amount can vary significantly. Warm weather, illness, physical activity and exercise, can all have effects on how much fluid is retained and needed by the body to function optimally. Certain medications such as diuretics and other drugs increase the urination process so more fluid may need to be consumed to keep you hydrated. Drinking large amounts of coffee and tea has a similar diuretic effect and can offset the fluid intake of these drinks. Eating salty food also increases the need for extra water to maintain proper fluid intake.
BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER
Aside from the essential benefits that water has to maintaining life, it also has many extra bonuses to keep you feeling good and in great shape!
-Helps rids your body of toxins and impurities, giving you energy
-It prevents constipation by helping with the elimination of faeces and other bodily wastes
-It raises your metabolism and helps with digestion of food
-It keeps your skin hydrated and healthy
-It helps in the maintenance of weight and gaining unwanted weight
SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
Aside from yellow pee, there are numerous other signs that indicate that you may not be hitting the mark for fluid intake. A few include
– Faintness and feelings of being lightheaded
-Fluid retention (due to high sodium diets)
You also don’t need to be getting all of your fluid intake from the drinks you drink. Fruits and vegetables can contain 70-90% water, so consuming enough of these whole foods will also help to keep you hydrated.
SO HOW CAN YOU MAKE DRINKING WATER MORE EXCITING??
For those who don’t drink anywhere near enough fluids to keep them well hydrated, here are a few ways to spruce up your water or fluid intake to get you there
-Herbal teas- They come in many flavours and can be served warm or chilled.
-Infused water – experiment with adding fruits and veges and fresh herbs to a large jug of water. Try combinations such as lemon, lime and mint;cucumber and orange; and watermelon and mint. Make it up at the start of your day and pop it on your desk to encourage you to drink it throughout the day, or if you’re out and about, fill up your water bottle and you’re away
-Throughout the day, snack on celery, carrot sticks, watermelon, apples, as many different fruits and vegetables. Not only will you be topping up your fluid intake, you will be feeding your body extra vitamins and minerals.
-Make an effort to drink a glass of water before every meal and between meals. By the end of the day you will have consumed between 4-6 glasses!
-Always carry a water bottle with you when you are out and about. It is amazing how quickly you can become thirsty when you are busy, so having water on hand can help to prevent you from getting dehydrated
NOW GET DRINKING!!
(Photo credits lawrenceparkhealth.com)