On Wednesday it is World Water Day. It feels like every day is another national day of some sort. Are all these national days really that necessary? Well whether it is or not, I have taken theopportunity to explain why water is so essential for our health and what we can do to ensure we’re hydrating properly.
Water is essential in order to maintain many of our daily physiological functions including; transporting nutrients around the body and waste products to the kidney for excretion, ensuring that the body’s processes are maintained within their narrow ranges and acting as a shock absorber between joints and bones. When we are in a hypohydrated state (often referred to as dehydrated) our bodies are unable to function optimally.
Hypohydration can cause dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, irritability, confusion and reduced brain functioning. Clearly this can be very dangerous and therefore we should be aware of our water losses.
Water losses occur through; urine, sweat, feces and respiration. We gain water through food and drink intake and metabolism.
Although we generate some water it is essential that we stay hydrated; which is why I’m share my top tips for staying hydrated:
1. Carry your water: by ensuring you always have a water bottle to hand means you’re constantly reminded to sip regularly throughout the day. Your body is more likely to utilise the water if you sip regularly throughout the day rather than drink a whole load at one time.
2. Eat your fruits and veggies: fruits and vegetables naturally have a high water content which means that by opting for these with your lunch or as a snack you’re reducing the risk of hypohydration. Foods such as cucumbers, tomatoes and celery contain quite a high water content. Make sure you’re eating other things too though as these vegetables are not very energy dense and so won’t sustain you throughout the day.
3. Swap your coffee: herbal teas do not contain caffeine like coffee, regular tea and green tea. Caffeine is a diuretic and so promotes hypohydration rather than re-hydration. Don’t mistake drinking 5 cups of coffee a day for drinking 5 glasses of water. The more coffee you drink the more water you require to replace what is lost.
Water is an essential macro nutrient (and yes it is a macronutrient, often one which gets forgotten about). It is easy to forget to hydrate however, now that the weather is getting warmer and we’ll lose that little bit more through sweat it’s essential we remember to re-hydrate regularly.