The human body is made up from around 60% water so you would think we had plenty of the stuff already inside us. Yet time after time we are told that drinking more water improves health. So is this one of these general healthy living ideas or are there scientific reasons why more water is beneficial?
How much is enough?
The first big question is how much water do our bodies need? A few years back it was all about ‘eight glasses a day’ but since then, this has been disproven, largely because it is too general. What you do changes how much water you need, the outside temperature has an effect and, like with everything else, we are all a little different.
Maybe not eight glasses a day but drinking more #water definitely has its #health benefits @angelatempest
The other thing that is often overlooked is that we get water from food – in fact, as much as 20% of our daily intake. So that means we need to get the remaining 80% from drinks but again, these don’t have to be just pure water.
Some estimates day that men need around 13 cups of water each day, so need to drink around 10.5 cups worth in one form or another. This decreases to 9 cups and 7 from drinks for women and increases a little if you are pregnant. It jumps up again for breastfeeding women to the same ratio as men.
But are there warning signs that you aren’t drinking enough? Yes, actually, the body tells you in a number of ways. Obviously, feeling thirsty can be a simple sign that you need to drink more. The colour of your urine can be another sign, though this one can be affected by medication you may be taking – darker may mean you aren’t getting enough water.
Reasons why drinking more water improves your health
1. Maintain a healthy balance of body fluids
Because we are made up of so much water, we need to drink enough to maintain these levels. But what does the body use water for? Spit is one, keeping the mouth moist and clean while maintaining a healthy body temperature is another thing that we use water to do. The pituitary gland tells the kidneys how much water is needed and the rest is then dumped out as urine. So if you haven’t got enough eater in your system, your body will tell you to drink more to top it up.
2. Controlling calories
Water doesn’t magically cause you to lose weight but it can help you to feel full and therefore reduce the amount of food you can eat. Also if you eat more foods that have a high water percentage, you reduce your calories intake and stay full longer – examples include broth based soups, fruits and vegetables.
3. Helps the digestive system work
Water is also crucial to get the digestive system to work by dissolving fat and soluble fibre. It is also helps to stop constipation, which can happen when everything in the system is too dry. The colon grabs water from other parts of the body, everything dries up and things get difficult.
4. Makes muscles work better
Muscle needs fluids and electrolytes to work – these are substances that create a charge when in water and are crucial for the body to work properly. Included on the list of electrolytes are potassium, calcium and sodium. When we use our muscles, we need electrolytes to be replaced and water is important for doing this.
5. Water makes for healthier skin
Hydration is key to healthy looking skin though it won’t work as a miracle cure for lines or wrinkles. If you don’t get enough water, your skin becomes dry. The key to better skin is a combination of plenty of water and a moisturiser that locks the moisture in, boosting skin for longer.
6. Makes you feel better
Drinking water has been shown to make us feel refreshed and enlivened, therefore boosting our mood and overall state of mind. Mild dehydration can lead to bad moods and feeling unhappy. A lack of water can also make us feel tired and lacking in energy.
7. Helps avoid headaches
Dehydration leads to headaches so if you are prone to them, increasing your water intake could help stop the condition. And if you do find yourself with one of those nightmare headaches, then take in extra water and this might help ease the situation.
8. Improves alertness and concentration
Lack of concentration has been blamed partly on being dehydrated so if you feel like you can concentrate, then water may be a great solution. It can also boost your alertness and help improve attention span.