Did you know that your body weight is approximately 60% water?
If you think drinking a few glasses of water is enough, then read below to find out the importance of water in your body.
Life cannot exist without water; it can be a cure for many ailments such as headaches, fatigue, and joint pain, to name some. Water plays a vital role in almost every bodily function, from flushing out waste, regulating body temperature and helping brain function. Water makes up nearly 85% of your brain, about 80% of your blood and about 70% of your lean muscle. We can go for weeks without food, but only 3 days without water!
Facts that you may not know:
- Men have higher body content that women
- Body water content declines with age to roughly 5% in the elderly
- During a 3-hour flight, you can lose up to 1.5 litres of body water!
What happens when you do not drink enough water
We are continually losing water throughout the day through urine, sweat and in our breath. Drinking plenty of water ensured the body is fully hydrated.
Lack of water is one of the triggers for daytime fatigue, even as little as a 2% drop in body water can cause short-term memory, difficulty focusing and studies have found some even struggle doing basic math.
Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting or diarrhoea, cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more fluids, bladder infections and urinary tract stones also require increased water intake.
What water does in the body
Water is essential for digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions. One of the main components of saliva, required for breaking down solid food and keeping your mouth healthy.
The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolised and transported by water in the bloodstream. Additionally, it aids in circulation in the body; the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are at the highest when the body is hydrated. The more oxygen the body has available, the more fat it will burn for energy; without oxygen, the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy. Furthermore, increased levels of oxygen will result in higher levels of energy.
Why hydration is so important
When the body excretes water as sweat during physical activity and in hot environments, the body loses water. Sweat keeps your body cool, however, your body temperature can rise if the water is not replenished.
Water helps remove toxins from the body via sweat, urine and bowel movements. Water is essential for healthy stools and avoiding constipation. Kidneys are important for filtering out waste through urination. Adequate water intake helps your kidneys work efficiently.
By suppressing the appetite, water aids the body to metabolise stored fat. Many of us mistake thirst for hunger; studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits. Another study found that just one glass of water can stop the false sensation of ‘hunger’ in 100% of the participants.
So how much water should we be drinking?
The general advice on hydration is to drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day. Caffeinated beverages may be a concern because caffeine acts as a diuretic and can cause increased urination. Coffee, teas, and many soft drinks contain caffeine. Try to drink caffeinated beverages in moderation and focus on consuming more water.
How to ensure you are drinking enough water
- Keep a bottle of water on your desk at work, or fill a jug of water to drink during the day at home. Seeing it is a reminder and this way, you can monitor how much you have drunk as opposed to keeping a score of how many glasses you have had.
- Eat foods that have higher water content like cucumber, watermelon, lettuce, celery, grapes, oranges, tomatoes.
- If drinking water becomes boring, try some variety like spa water or herbal and fruit teas.
- Either add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water or add a slice of fruits and herbs to water and leave in a jug or bottle overnight to allow the flavours to infuse into the water.
- If cold drinks are not your thing, then add apple slices and a cinnamon stick in hot water, or even ginger and lemon!
Do not wait until you feel thirsty, you may already be slightly dehydrated!
If this resonates with you then…
Get started on your road to recovery today and take advantage of our 15-minute sessions with a Nutritionist or Functional Medicine Practitioner. Each session is designed to give you the support you need throughout your journey to optimal health.
Simply book in using our contact form below.