Sixty percent of each and every one of us is water. And almost 90 per cent of our blood is made up of water – so much of what we are is H2O.
There are no simple rules about how much water we should drink – and yes you can drink too much, and it can cause health problems – so be careful. As a general guide around 7 or 8 glasses of water a day – seems to be a general rule to keep the average person hydrated, although it should be stressed that water should be sipped consistently throughout the day – ‘chugging’ 3 or 4 litres in one go really isn’t a good idea and really won’t make you feel particularly good. That said most of us do not drink enough water so steadily increasing our water consumption can bring some positive benefits.
It may also be worth briefly discussing the ongoing debate regarding the best temperature to consume your water – some cultures (notably Japan) believe that cold water is bad for you and they tend to drink tepid or lukewarm water, others believe cold water burns more calories in the body and has health benefits. Personally, I find very cold water chills my stomach, so I tend to drink mine at room temperature, but in the absence of any overriding scientific evidence its probably best to decide for yourself.
Water is incredibly important to many of our basic bodily functions, helping to regulate blood pressure, body temperature and plays a vital function in our kidneys and helps to remove toxins and waste from the body. Water is also key to the health of our skin and being properly hydrated may improve our complexion. There is also some basis to believe that hydrating your body properly and consistently will assist in long term weight loss.
So, if you go ahead and drink more water – what are the likely health benefits:
- RECOVERY – If you work out or exercise – hydrating properly will improve both physical performance and recovery. Athletes take hydration very seriously and see it as a vital part of their recovery process. Its important to remember that you don’t always have to be exercising hard to deplete your water reserves – normal busy daily activities can see us lose up to 5 per cent of our body weight through water
- ENERGY & BRAIN FUNCTION – Our level of hydration corelates with our energy levels and our brain functions. Mild dehydration impairs our brain functions, depletes our energy levels, and can give us a foggy head – so for optimum physical and mental performance – sip water throughout the day.
- HEADACHES AND MIGRAINS – are both common symptoms of dehydration. Numerous studies have found links between the frequency and the severity of headaches and the consumption of sufficient water.
- DIGESTION – water is full of magnesium and it plays a pivotal role in our digestion system – enabling us digest food optimally and it also prevents constipation – which must be good!
- WEIGHT LOSS & SATIETY – health studies suggest that optimum water consumption can increase our metabolic rate – meaning the calories our bodies burn – just to keep us alive may increase. In addition, consuming a glass of water ahead of meals seems to positively impact the amount we consume (i.e., we eat less) and it also seems to increase the feelings of satiety – i.e., we feel fuller for longer.
I radically increased my water consumption about 5 months ago – and I have seen a range of health benefits including weight loss, improved skin condition and better energy levels. Initially, my trips to bathroom were off the scale – no wonder I lost weight but gradually this subsided and I tend not to drink water after 8:00pm to reduce nightly visits to the bathroom. Probably the biggest single benefit of focussing on drinking more water was the fact I had zero capacity to drink anything else, tea, coffee, soft drinks, juices, and alcohol – all took a back seat, and I don’t really drink anything but water now – and if you’d told me that back in November, I would never have believed you. If you look on You Tube there are lots of videos of people drinking high volumes of water – some of them excessively – so be careful but, to really get the benefits of drinking more water you need to do it for 3 or 4 months of longer – you won’t get great skin in 2 weeks – but there’s every chance you will in six months.