My husband is amazing; he drinks at least three litres of water a day, every day! When we met, I think I would have been lucky to have had three glasses of water a day! Considering how critical water is to our body functioning at its optimum, I wasn’t doing myself any favours. So slowly I replaced all my energy drinks with water (yes, don’t judge me … I was addicted to Red Bull, I can’t even imagine that now!), and noticed real differences in my focus, cravings, mood and skin. We all know some of the benefits of drinking sufficient water to prevent dehydration which can lead to a host of problems, including a lack of clarity and focus, mood changes, overheating, and may lead to constipation and kidney stones.
So much of our body is comprised of water, 85% of our brain, 90% of our blood and lungs, 75% of our muscles and 82% of our kidneys. Even are bones are 22% water! Water is essential for life. Water fills the spaces between the cells and helps form structures of large molecules such as protein and glycogen. Also, it is required for digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients, for the elimination of waste products and to regulate body temperature.
‘Drink plenty of water'. But what is plenty of water? It is going to be different for all of us. Being sufficiently hydrated will depend on your age, weight, level of activity, lifestyle, diet, if you take medications and how well you are generally. A simple calculation that may assist with a starting point is to multiply your weight (in kg) by 0.033, and the answer is your suggested daily water consumption. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will need to consume a little more, anywhere between 750ml – 1000ml above your basic needs. This is because of the expanding extracellular fluid space, the needs of the baby and the amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Some signs your body may give you of being dehydrated are
• being constantly thirsty
• unexplained tiredness
• you may experience mood shifts
• muscle cramps
• sunken eyes
• dark yellow urine
• dry skin
Water supports and maintains the health of each and every one of your cells in your body, it is imperative for the transport of by-products from metabolism out of our bodies. We lose about 2 litres of water a day through sweat, breath, urine and faeces. Regularly not replacing your daily water loss with fresh water may lead to water absorption from the bloodstream, which causes our hearts to work harder. Staying hydrated supports blood flow. Our kidneys, liver and skin need adequate water to cleanse and eliminate substances such as excess sodium and potassium, and urea from our bodies effectively.
For healthy ageing, a clear mind, increased energy levels and glowing, plump skin, focus on your daily water intake! Drinking enough fresh water will allow your body to cleanse, repair and rejuvenate. Water can be healing to pain, inflammation, mental fatigue, anxiety, and obesity. Consider your water intake as therapy!
Drinking soft drinks, energy drinks, and coffee will deplete your water reserves, as they are considered diuretics increasing the water removed from our bodies. They are not a substitute for drinking water.
While there are many benefits to drinking water, such as helping with the hangover, better smelling breath, and regulating body temperature here are a few that you may not have thought about
1. Increase your focus, concentration, energy and mood
Skip the coffee for water! Yes seriously! If you feel lethargic know that there is a link between cognitive performance and dehydration, It doesn’t take much to notice the difference 2% dehydration may affect your mood, reduce your cognitive & motor skills, make you more sensitive to pain, and affect your memory.
Yes, reach for that glass of water now!
2. Promotion of healthy weight management
Water helps you feel full, acting as a natural appetite suppressant. (Please eat when you are hungry too, a water diet is not conducive to good health!) There is an impact on your metabolic function, and drinking water half an hour before a meal means you will eat less. It is recommended not to drink water with your meals, so as not to impact the pH of your stomach, you can try this and see if your digestion improves. Let me know in the comments below if you notice a difference!
3. Stay regular and flush out toxins
Water is a natural lubricant that helps stools move through the bowels. It ensures your kidneys can remove waste products through the urine and allows the liver to do its part in cleansing toxins from the body. Your skin can reflect your toxic load, congestion and blemishes may mean that the toxins/problematic substances are not flushed through their usual channels. Eating whole foods and not overloading your body with processed food, sugary or alcoholic beverages, sleeping and drinking enough water will allow your body to do what it does naturally, absorb nutrients, cleanse and detoxify.
4. Improve your complexion
While there is some debate about how drinking water can affect your skin, there is research that relates to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and rosacea when the skin is dehydrated. Some will say that dry skin is more prone to redness, flakiness and wrinkles. Drink water and apply moisturiser to protect and maintain hydration. If you use a product containing hyaluronic acid, spray a mist of water on your face before application so the product can be effective in maintaining skin moisture levels.
5. Support your immune system
Your immune system function is optimised when your organs are functioning at their best. Organs are at their best when they are oxygenated and hydrated. Drink your daily water quota, eat fresh whole foods, and allow your body to rest and restore. Also, the production of lymph is essential to circulate white blood cells and nutrients throughout your body, and water helps in the production of lymph supporting immune system cells.
6. Prevent headaches, backaches, cramps and sprains
Dehydration headaches are sometimes referred to as secondary headaches because there is not enough fluid in the body. The brain may shrink with the fluid loss not being replaced, causing pain across the front, back and side of the head.
There is a suggestion that the lack of water between the supporting discs of the vertebrae can compromise the central nucleus of each disc causing back pain.
Being hydrated and balanced with your electrolytes helps increase your exercise session times, and enough water means that your muscles and joints are lubricated sufficiently to prevent inadvertent injury or sprain. Being hydrated may even help with your flexibility and recovery time.
7. Improve heart health
A study completed in 2002 demonstrated a link between coronary heart disease and water intake. As water maintains the proper viscosity of blood and plasma and fibrinogen distribution, the results are fascinating. Read the study here.
When you begin to increase your water intake, it may mean more bathroom stops, but your body will adjust. You will notice changes in your health, your skin, your mood, your focus and your efficiency quite quickly, and those extra stops will be worth it!
If you struggle to drink plain water, below are a couple of my favourite infused water recipes.
Did any of the benefits surprise you? What could you substitute to make water your main drink? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it by email, twitter or Facebook, it may make the difference in someone’s day!
And as always remember your reasons, your health, your mission and the people you love.
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Infused Water Recipes
Citrus Blueberry (for 3 litres)
1 punnet of blueberries
Leaving the rind on, slice the oranges into thin slices.
Place the orange slices and blueberries in the pitcher/mason jar then fill with water.
Stir gently. Leave for 4 hours to infuse. Store in the refrigerator.
Grapefruit Raspberry (for 3 litres)
1 punnet raspberries muddled
Leaving the rind on, slice the grapefruit into thin slices.
Place the grapefruit and raspberries in the pitcher/mason jar then fill with water.
Stir gently. Leave for 4 hours to infuse. Store in the refrigerator.
Grape Orange (for 3 litres)
3 cups of red or green grapes (I like to use a mix)
Slice the grapes in half and place them in the freezer until they are frozen.
Leaving the rind on slice the orange into thin slices.
Place the frozen grapes, and orange in the pitcher/mason jar then fill with water.
Stir gently. Leave for 6 hours to infuse. Store in the refrigerator.
Image courtesy Jamie Street
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