The human body is made up of approximately 50% – 60% water, so it is no surprise that we need water to survive. While the human body can continue to function at limited capacity without food for weeks, without water the body would shut down within days. Maintaining suitable and adequate levels of hydration is essential for your health, fitness and general wellbeing. By ensuring your fluid intake is sufficient, you can also ensure that your body functions effectively.
In short, we need water to live. However, there is some uncertainty both amongst the public and the scientific community as to just how much water amounts to the ‘ideal’ fluid intake.
What Are The Benefits of Drinking Plenty of Water?
Water fuels your body and serves a number of essential functions that keep you going throughout the day. For instance, it is vital for the regulation of body temperature and the perspiration and respiration processes. It is essential for the composition of cells and the enabling of hydrolysis reactions. It is also key for saliva production, urination and the metabolism and transportation of carbohydrates and proteins in the bloodstream.
As well as providing physical security and functional vitality, drinking plenty of water can also work wonders for your alertness, mood, wellbeing and mental performance. Water is a prominent medium for diverse chemical reactions in the body, containing beneficial electrolytes including potassium, sodium, fluoride and calcium. If you find yourself regularly feeling down in the dumps, over tired and sluggish, you might be surprised to learn that even the smallest changes to your fluid intake (such as regulating the amount and quality of fluid you drink) can have dramatically positive effects on the way you feel and perform.
How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?
We know by now that proper hydration is essential for your body to function. However, there has been some debate as to how much water or fluid is actually required to achieve adequate hydration levels each day. A general consensus seems to fall at approximately 1.5-2 Litres per day, or the well-known ‘8 8-ounce glasses a day’ rule.
The ‘8 glasses’ rule is not set in stone, as the required fluid intake can vary from person to person, and depends on a number of factors including age, weight, gender and environment. For instance, if you are under physical exertion or the weather is particularly hot, you will naturally need to intake more fluid as your rate of perspiration increases and your body loses more water than usual.
Drink as regularly as needed, and always make sure to adjust your fluid intake to the level of fluid you are losing. It is also important to remember that your total fluid intake also includes soft drinks, tea, coffee and any other beverages you consume throughout the day. It is best to drink healthy nutritious drinks like water, tea and pure fruit juice rather than sugary soft drinks which contain chemicals and added sugars that can work to dehydrate your body and damage your health in the long term.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it takes in. If you put your body under physical pressure without drinking enough fluids, you’re sure to fall foul of dehydration at some point. This is why proper fluid intake is so important. The ill effects of dehydration can range from mild to severe, and the best way to avoid them is by ensuring that you always drink enough water. As well as making you feel unwell and reducing your performance, dehydration can have potentially serious health implications if left untreated.
Some common symptoms of dehydration include:
- Tiredness & Irritability
- Passing Dark-Coloured Urine
- Passing Urine Infrequently
- Dry Mouth
- Feeling Very Thirsty
Other symptoms include:
- Light-Headedness & Headaches
- Dizziness & Confusion
- Dry Lips & Eyes
- Fits & Seizures
How Does Boiled Water Differ From Distilled Water?
It is important to make sure that you drink plenty of clean, good quality water. Sometimes, it may be necessary to purify or filter water to either cleanse it or improve the natural taste. Boiling water is perhaps the oldest method of purification. Distillation is the process of collecting the vapour produced by boiling water. The vapour achieved through distillation is itself pure and free from any residual dirt or bacteria that remains physically present in water after the boiling process. While boiling water is indeed an effective and traditional way of ensuring relative safety and cleanliness of water, it is in fact only through full distillation that the dirt and minerals present are removed and separated.
Water is a cheap and healthy alternative to processed soft drinks. Drinking more water can go a long way in improving your health, mood and performance, so why not start today? If you’re not too keen on the taste of plain water, or you live in an area with hard and poor quality tap water, a squeeze of lemon or lime can add an invigorating flavour and freshen up your drink. You can even infuse a jug of water with cucumber or lemon overnight for a healthy and delicious nutrient-rich drink that will give you an extra kick-start to the day. Water can also be infused with spices, herbs and other fruits which are beneficial to your health.
Water works wonders for your body and you wouldn’t be here without it. Drink up!
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