I advise everyone to drink more water every day. Too many of us are simply not drinking enough but how much water should you drink every day? Hydration is the corner stone to good health and estimates suggest the average Briton drinks less than 1 glass.
Dehydration can contribute to frequent headaches, dry skin, slowed weight loss, dizziness, hunger, lack of concentration, amongst numerous others. The key is to ascertain how much we actually need to function effectively.
The human body is approximately 60% water and it makes perfect sense that we need to keep this optimum level topped up, accounting for any water loss or extra water needs throughout the day. Water provides the medium for biochemical reactions within cell tissues and is essential for maintaining an adequate blood volume and the integrity of the cardiovascular system.
Research has produced some disturbing reports that around 48% of water consumption through out the day comes from sugary fizzy drinks, juices and 18% from food! I expect this figure may not be far from the reality here in the UK but the worrying fact of the matter is that young children, those with chronic illnesses and the elderly are at greater risk of becoming dehydrated.
This is for a variety of reasons but it is important to address that drinking water, by itself, is not encouraged enough in an array of environments where it should be. Schools, Hospitals, Gyms, do you see water available? There is always however, without question, a vending machine pushing cheaper sugary items than a bottle of water. This lack of on the go option means we must carry a bottle wherever possible.
WHY IS WATER SO IMPORTANT?
Our bodies are comprised largely of water so it’s understandable that every function inside our body depends upon it to do its job well. Cells, Organs, Tissues all need water to regulate body temperature and keep certain areas moist for example our very own eyes. These are just a few of the major components and mechanisms affected but water also acts as a lubricant for the spine, protecting our joints. It’s basically absolutely fundamental to drink water.
If we have enough water we can then lose it efficiently too, through sweating and urination. This is crucial to eradicate toxins from the body and prevent us from becoming poorly. Water is always lost through diarrhoea, vomiting and sweating, especially when we have a fever. The kidneys and liver need water to fight off infection so ensure you top up when you are unwell.
HOW MUCH WATER DO WE NEED TO DRINK?
Think about your weight and how much physical activity you do a day when you think about how much water you need. As a general rule, you can use this simple calculation. Water (in litres) to drink a day = Your Weight (in Kg) multiplied by 0.033. For example, if you are 60kg, you should drink about 2 litres of water every single day. At 90kg, you'll around about 3 litres of water. All you need to do is multiply 0.033 to your weight in Kg.
If you are a very active person then aim for the higher amount. I tend to say 1.5 litres at a minimum per day for anyone, increasing this according to your routine. If you go to the gym, remember that is extra water required to re-hydrate.
Urine has been a useful tool to determine how hydrated we are since the earliest days of medicine. The colour, density, and smell of urine can all reveal so much about our hydration levels let alone the general state of our health.
WHAT FOODS ARE REALLY HYDRATING?
Watermelon - It’s no surprise this fruit is made up of 92% water but its salt, calcium and magnesium is what makes it ideal for rehydration. The summertime staple is also a good source of Potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C
Celery - The stalks are about 95% water, source of fibre and rich in minerals including Potassium and Vitamin K
Cucumbers - Composed of 96% water, cucumbers have absolutely no saturated fat or cholesterol and are a source of Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 and iron
Strawberries - 92% water (the most of any berry) and source of fibre and Vitamin C
Lettuce - An iceberg lettuce may be 96% water but it’s not known for much else in the nutrition department
Coconut Water - Unlike labeled sports drinks, Coconut Water is low in carbohydrates and a source of potassium. Its unsweetened varieties can be very hydrating. Studies have demonstrated that the all-natural drink is effective in rehydrating after light exercise. For more rigorous sweat sessions, water appears to be just as effective.
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