Water makes up between 60 - 70% of our total body weight, so it makes sense that keeping hydrated is incredibly important for our health. Every cell, tissue and organ in the body needs water to function properly, yet so many of us still aren't drinking enough to keep hydrated.
Many essential processes in the body are dependent on water, including nutrient balance, transport of nutrients, and normal functioning of the kidneys and digestive system. Water also helps lubricate and cushion your joints, protect sensitive tissues, and regulate body temperature. Not drinking enough can lead to dehydration, which can affect concentration and cause headaches, bloating, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, muscle cramps and constipation.
How Much Should I Drink?
There's no standard recommendation for how much water we should aim for each day: like other aspects of nutrition, fluid needs are also highly individual, and your daily water requirements will depend on your body size, physical activity level, the climate you live in (due to increased fluid losses through sweat in warm climates), and also how much fluid you're consuming from other sources such as food. If you're sick, pregnant, or breastfeeding you'll also have increased requirements. A general indication that you're adequately hydrated is if you're rarely thirsty, and have pale yellow urine. Although most of your water intake will normally come from drinking water, foods and other drinks can also contribute to your daily intake.
Here are a few hydration tips:
💦 Drink water as your main thirst drink, and make a conscious effort to drink more throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you and sip regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty (thirst is often a sign you’re already dehydrated)
🥒 If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding fresh or frozen berries, mint leaves, or slices of cucumber, lemon or lime to add flavour, and make it more appealing
🧊 Keep your water cool in summer by filling your bottle halfway and freezing overnight, then fill the remainder with water in the morning. This can also act as a chilling element to keep your lunch cool until you're ready to eat 😉
🍉 Food can also contribute to your water intake: many fruit and veggies have a high water content, so this is another great reason to get in your daily serves of fruit and veg!