Dry skin, fatigue and constipation are signs that you may not be getting enough water intake and as the weather warms up, it’s important to keep hydrated. When we talk about diet, the focus is often on food. But water is actually more essential than other nutrients we find in food.
Why is water so important?
Without water, your body isn’t able to function. Water plays a role in nearly every process of the body, either directly or indirectly. It makes up about 60% of your body – men and infants have a little more, whereas women and people with a high body fat percentage have a little less. You will find water in your intracellular and extracellular fluids, plasma, organs, spine and digestive tract.
Water is needed for actions including:
– Maintaining body temperature
– Forming a barrier in the skin to protect against foreign bodies
– Brain function
– Digestion of food
– Excreting waste through urine, sweat and faeces
– Supporting a healthy metabolic rate
– Increasing satiety levels
Without enough water in the body, we become dehydrated. Even a little bit can make a big difference. Research has shown that 1-3% dehydration can impact on digestion, energy and mood. If you want to address constipation and fatigue and balance mood, you need to monitor your water intake.
How to boost your water intake
Now that you know how important hydration is for energy, mood and digestion, how can you get enough? Here are some simple tips to get more water into your day.
Make drinking more fun
Many people find plain water a bit boring. But if that’s the case, you can make it more interesting and still reap the benefits. As the weather warms up, you can add fresh or frozen fruit and herbs to your water. Berries, citrus, mint and rosemary are some refreshing options to start with. When the temperature drops, find some herbal teas you enjoy to replace plain water.
If you’re out at a social event and want an alternative for soft drinks, grab some sparkling water. Many supermarkets now have flavoured options – just make sure there’s no added sugars.
Eat your water
You don’t have to rely on your water bottle for all of your hydration needs. There are plenty of high-water foods around, especially as the warmer months bring tropical produce back.
Stock up on:
– Green leafy vegetable
Create a habit
The easiest way to incorporate a new habit is to tie it to a current one. This goes for drinking water as well. You could try drinking a glass of water after brushing your teeth or when you go to make a cup of coffee. If you check your emails regularly, have a few mouthfuls every time your inbox loads up.
Figure out what you do at least 4-5 times each day and make those the times that you drink a glass of water.
Sometimes, we need someone to push us until we get into a habit. In that case, it’s time to set up some reminders. You can simply set alarms on your phone throughout the day. There are plenty of apps out there that track water, from general diet trackers to specific water trackers. If you aren’t into tech, you can get water bottles with measures on the side to remind you visually, like this one for example https://healthish.com/
How much water should you drink?
Different people have different needs for water, depending on their body composition , exercise, medication use and other lifestyle factors. Even the weather can influence how much you should be drinking.
Ideally, aim for around 30ml per kilogram of body weight. For a 65kg person, that’s around 2 litres per day. But if you’re not drinking water much, it’s best to start slowly and work your way up.
If you’re exercising, you’ll want to add 1-2 cups of water for every 30 min of exercise you do. If the temperature is over 30 degrees C, add an extra 2 cups per day.
Drinking enough water is just one piece of the puzzle. If you’re feeling fatigued, low in mood or suffering digestive complaints, book in a session.
Metheny, N., & Metheny, N. M. (2011). Fluid and electrolyte balance. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.