Forget fancy super foods and pricey supplements – good old-fashioned water is one of the biggest health boosters around. But many of us don’t know how much water to drink, or which foods are a great source of H20.
5 Reasons You Should Drink More Water
- Around 60 percent of the body is made of water – so it’s important to keep our fluid levels balanced to help it transport nutrients, digest food and regulate body temperature properly.
- Staying hydrated is super important for fighting everyday issues, too. Feeling foggy? You might not have had enough to drink. A recent study from Tufts University found that mild dehydration was enough to impair thinking.
- Still aching from those squats? You need water to help your muscles repair – and to make that workout feel easier.
- Bloated and backed up? Chances are, you’re not drinking enough water to aid your digestion.
- Add allergies, headaches, bad skin and fatigue to the list and you get the picture – water is one of the most important ways to keep your health on a high.
Staying well-hydrated has long-term benefits, too: research has found that women who drink more than five glasses of water daily halve their risk of colon cancer compared to those who only drink two.
How To Tell If You’ve Had Enough Water
The tell-tale sign is when you find yourself feeling thirsty throughout the day – that’s your thirst mechanism prompting you to drink before you start doing damage. Having dark urine can also indicate dehydration (but don’t freak out if you’ve eaten beetroot, carrots, asparagus, broad beans or some vitamins – they can make your wee a funny colour, too!)
According to 12WBT’s nutrition expert, Chantelle Curtis-Latchford, we should be aiming to drink between 1.8 and 2.5 litres a day (breastfeeding mums should add another glass to that estimate). Want to get precise? Calculate your personal H20 requirements by multiplying your weight by 35 to 45 millilitres.
Then there are those sweaty workouts, when you need to stay hydrated to perform at your peak. Not staying hydrated actually makes a workout feel harder, and who needs that? Experts recommend sipping on a cup per every 15 minutes of exercise, depending on where you live (you lose more fluid in heat, humidity and at high altitude). Or you can try the athlete’s trick: they weigh themselves before and after intense workouts, and the difference in weight is the amount of fluid they have lost that needs to be replaced. So a loss of 1.2 kilos would mean downing 1.2 litres of water.
Related: The Hazards of a Liquid Diet
Foods To Keep You Hydrated
There are other ways to keep yourself hydrated other than water. Fruit and vegetables are mostly made up of water, particularly juicy cucumbers, watermelon, pineapples and even bananas. Then there’s “wet” food like yoghurt and soup that bumps up those fluid levels.
But not all liquids are created equal. “Water rules when it comes to staying hydrated, and it should be your go-to drink,” says 12WBT lead nutritionist, Georgina Moore. “Steer clear of soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, juice and smoothies – they can max out your calorie intake for the day in a heartbeat.” In fact, some drinks can even leave you less hydrated – caffeinated beverages or alcohol dry you out quicker than you can say, “Another espresso Martini, please.”
Related: Salt and Your Health
So water you waiting for?!
Your Say: Are you keeping hydrated? How do you make sure you have your daily soaking of H20