Why should we have to drink so much water? You hear about it all the time, 1 litre, 2 litres per day. Bottled, sparkling, mineral, glaciar the types of water are endless and for something that comes relativley free from the tap, water companies make oodles of profit on it.
Unlike the snacks and sugar laden fizzy drinks that the manufacturers also push upon us, we really do need to consume water. At least two litres a day for optimum body performance. Buy why? Here a few reasons –
1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol. “Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration,” (Guest)
2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.
Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
3. Water Helps Energise Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Guest.
4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines.
“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,’ “But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.” You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Guest. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” he says.
When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.
If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation. “Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Kolemay.
Tips to Help You Drink More Water
If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:
1. Have a drink with every snack and meal.
2. Choose an herbal tea you enjoy; you’re likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
4. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
5. Choose drinks that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, always choose water.