Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, and whilst we may have drunk more than normal, I bet very few of us drank enough – the recommended daily intake of 3 litres per day. As gorgeous as the warm weather is, it can pose health risks, including heatstroke and sun burn, but the most common heat related condition is dehydration.
So why is drinking plenty essential to good health?
Water accounts for most of your body weight and is essential to many bodily functions including:
- flushing out waste from your body
- regulating body temperature
- helping your brain function
Most water intake comes from what we drink, with a small amount coming from the food we eat. You should try and drink more because:
It regulates your body temperature
Sweating is your bodies way of staying cool, your body loses water particularly in hot weather, so you need to hydrate to maintain your body temperature. If you don’t, your body temperature rises, and you lose electrolytes and plasma. Remember the more you sweat, the more you should drink.
It helps create saliva
Saliva is mostly water with small amounts of electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes. Its job is to start breaking down solid food and to help keep your mouth healthy. You need a regular fluid intake to help your body produce saliva.
It protects your tissues, spinal cord, and joints
Water lubricate and cushion your joints, spinal cord, and tissues and can help lessen the discomfort of conditions like arthritis.
It helps excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation
Your body uses water to sweat, urinate, and have bowel movements. Water helps regulate your body temperature and helps your kidneys filter waste. Water also softens your poo which is important to avoid constipation.
It helps maximize physical performance
Drinking plenty of water during physical activity is essential as you are likely to sweat more. Dehydration will affect your strength, power, and endurance.
It aids in digestion
Drinking water before, during, and after a meal helps your body break down the food you eat more easily.
It helps with nutrient absorption
Water helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food which are then more easily used by your body, increasing your chances of staying healthy.
It helps fight off illness
Drinking enough water can help prevent some medical conditions including constipation, kidney stones, exercise-induced asthma, urinary tract infection and hypertension.
It helps boost energy
Drinking water may activate your metabolism. A boost in metabolism has been associated with an improved energy level.
It aids in cognitive function
Not drinking enough water can negatively impact your focus, alertness, and short-term memory.
It helps improve mood
Not getting enough water can also affect your mood. Dehydration may result in fatigue and confusion as well as anxiety.
It helps keep skin bright
Water will help keep your skin hydrated and may promote collagen production.
- Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go, you will always have a drink to hand.
- Try to drink little and often, sipping throughout the day, rather than trying to drink large quantities in one go.
Let’s hope the weather holds and the sunshine sticks around for a while, but even if it doesn’t try and improve the amount of water you are drinking, you will feel better for it.