The benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated
Every cell and organ in our bodies requires a sufficient amount of water to function properly, which is why dehydration is such a major problem for the entire body, including the brain. Yet some studies suggest that nearly 90% of us may not be drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated, affecting not just our health, but also other factors such as weight, skin and concentration levels, to name a few.
When we perspire, it’s important to make sure we drink more water to replenish our water supplies and keep properly rehydrated every day, either by drinking liquids or eating water-rich foods such as lettuce, cucumber or tomatoes. While any type of liquid, including tea, coffee and milk, will help top up our water levels, there is no doubt that drinking water is the healthiest, most effective choice for quenching thirst – it has no calories, sugars or chemicals such as caffeine that other liquids may contain and it’s also absorbed more quickly. Best of all – it’s free!
There’s a host of wellbeing benefits to enjoy by staying hydrated. On the health side, drinking water can help stop dizziness and headaches (often simply a sign of fatigue and dehydration), it can help fight infections by flushing out toxins and keeping our airways clear, it improves digestive health and also boosts energy levels. Water has also been shown to support our heart health – when we are dehydrated, our blood gets thicker so our hearts have to pump harder. One study found that those people drinking more than five glasses of water every day were over 40% less likely to suffer from a heart attack than those drinking less than two glasses a day.
Drinking plenty of water will also help us stay looking good. Not only will it keep eyes sparkling and skin looking radiant and plump, it will also help keep complexions clear as it plays a vital role in getting rid of dirt and bacteria that become trapped in the pores. Water can also help with weight loss – when we’re dehydrated, fat cells become harder to break down, and drinking a glass or two when we’re feeling hungry can also help suppress appetite. Exercise is also improved by drinking water, so your body actually works harder and more efficiently if you make sure you drink water while you work out, not just afterwards.
Ideas to help you drink more water
Current guidelines recommend women drink 1.6 litres of fluid a day (approximately eight 200ml glasses) and men should drink slightly more – about 2 litres or ten glasses – and sipping each glass slowly throughout the day rather than glugging them down in one go is more efficient too. If the idea of drinking that much water every day seems unappealing, then remember you can add a squeeze of lemon or lime, or even a small amount of cordial or fruit juice to make the idea of eight or ten daily glasses more appealing. One of our current favourite tipples for spring days here at the Wellbeing Studios is an ice-cold glass of naturally-flavoured water topped with a slice of cucumber and sprig of mint or fennel – deliciously refreshing. Cheers!
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- Your body actually works harder and more efficiently if you make sure you drink water while you exercise, not just afterwards
- Water helps keep our hearts healthy – when we’re dehydrated, our blood gets thicker so our hearts have to pump harder
- Drinking enough water will help keep your eyes sparkling, your skin looking radiant and your complexion clear