Staying adequately hydrated is something that many of us overlook on a day to day basis and as we are unable to store it, our water supplies are quickly diminished through everyday motions such as breathing, sweating, exercising and going to the toilet.
More than just a quick drink, water is essential for many, important bodily functions - flushing toxins and waste from the body, transporting nutrients to various organs, lubrication of our joints and colon, temperature regulation, blood circulation... It also forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration and it’s contained in lean muscle, fat and bones. It ensures that we are able to function normally, perform basic metabolic processes and it also plays a part in maintaining energy levels, preventing headaches, fatigue and even irritability.
The amount of water that you should drink daily depends on various physical and environmental factors such as your age, size, where you live and your activity levels but the general advice is that we should aim for 8 glasses or 2-2.5 litres per day. Waiting until you are thirsty before reaching for your glass is a mistake often made by many, thirst is actually an indication that you are already dehydrated! An easy way to see how hydrated you are (or aren’t!) is to simply check the colour of your urine, ideally you want it to be clear or a pale yellow. Dark yellow or brown urine indicates that you need to drink more, and fast!
- Dehydration actually encourages the body to retain its water sources causing a bloated appearance, the quickest way to reduce water retention? Drink more water!
- The kidneys play a part in filtering waste products from the blood and processing toxins sent from the liver. For the kidneys to work effectively, they need water. Without this system, our bodies can become overloaded with toxic waste and this can have a negative effect on the body, making us feel and look worse than we want to!
- Constipation is a common sign of dehydration and can cause a backup of toxins which are then re-released into our blood stream. The skin also works to remove waste from our bodies, and having more waste to remove could result in acne breakouts, and other skin conditions.
- Energy levels plummet with dehydration and without sufficient energy levels your motivation to exercise and eat well will be compromised!
If you really can stand the thought of drinking water, try flavouring iced water with slices of lemon, lime or strawberries. Infusing your water with cucumber is not only refreshing but also a great way of boosting your skin friendly mineral intake of magnesium and potassium. Sparkling water has been carbonated but contains nothing else so this too would count toward your daily intake and could be mixed with an elderflower cordial and crushed mint leaves for a more sophisticated and booze free evening drink!