Your body depends on water to survive because it makes up more than half of your body weight. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work correctly. Here, we’re discussing the reasons why it’s important to stay hydrated, the benefits to your health and how to ensure you keep hydrated.
Why is staying hydrated so important?
Drinking water is essential to help your body function properly. Your body uses water to get rid of waste, control your body temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen around your body, and it helps to keep your skin healthy too. Water also gives your metabolism a boost so you could burn more calories throughout the day whilst helping you stay energised if you are drinking enough.
If you don’t drink enough water, you risk becoming dehydrated which can cause these processes to not function properly, as your body is using more water than it’s taking in. This can make you feel thirsty, lightheaded, tired and drowsy. Dehydration can be serious, especially in young children and the elderly, so it’s important to stay hydrated and look out for the symptoms of dehydration so you can treat it quickly.
Staying hydrated is especially important in hot weather, so during the summer months, make sure you drink the recommended 1.5-2 litres of water per day, or more if you’re doing a lot of physical activity.
Ways to make water more interesting
Water provides you with all the fluid you need, but it can get a little boring straight from the tap! You can also get the fluids you need from milk and fruit juice, although it’s recommended not to drink more than 150ml of fruit juice per day to help prevent tooth decay due to the sugars in the juice. Eat plenty of fruit and veg such as watermelon, grapefruit and cucumber as these also contain a lot of water.
You could also try making water more interesting by adding:
- Flavoured ice cubes
- Sliced lemon (or other zesty citrus fruits)
- Herbs like mint, sage or basil
All of these things naturally flavour the water without adding unnecessary sugars unlike cordial/fruit squash.
Opt for sparkling mineral water as this can also be an interesting and refreshing alternative to tap water.
These are another tasty way of increasing your water intake and, better still, they’re caffeine free. You can choose from a wide variety of teas and herbal drinks, not only to stay hydrated, but also to reap benefits for your body. Green teas are full of health-boosting antioxidants, and peppermint tea is said to ease digestion. You can even make your own ‘herbal iced tea’ by putting a few tea bags of your favourite herbal tea in a large jug of iced water!
Get a water cooler
If you’re an employer, provide your employees with access to a fresh water source, such as a water cooler or a vending machine with still and sparkling water. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that in the workplace there should be adequate supplies of water, taking the temperature of the work environment and type of activity into consideration. Providing access to fresh water means your employees are more likely to stay hydrated whilst they work, which is especially important as this can help to boost concentration and productivity.