Water is a nutrient that your body always needs. Whether you drink it or consume it in your food, it doesn’t matter – as long as you are getting enough hydration. With fluid loss occurring every second of the day by skin evaporation, urine, excretion and even breathing, those lost fluids must be replaced in order to keep you tip-top health.
If your intake and output become imbalanced, you will start to see the warning signs of dehydration. Fluid loss will be particularly rapid in high altitude, hot weather or exercise, but as you get older it can happen more regularly as a more mature persons’ sense of thirst is not as acute as that in the younger person. The amount of water you drink is based on your body weight and your level of activity, and even the conditions under which you work and play.
Water has so many properties from aiding health to making your hair, skin and nails look like a movie star. The best reasons for making sure you are well-hydrated are:
Body Fluid Balance
It is critical that you maintain the balance of water in your system for transportation of essential nutrients throughout the body. Without this, your organs would slowly deteriorate.
In order to maintain body temperature (it should range from 36.1C to 37.2C) adequate hydration is needed. Your body temperature does depend on several factors such as age, what you are currently doing and even the time of day. Obviously, extreme climatic conditions can bring on additional problems.
Healthy Cell Growth
A balance of fluids and electrolytes are needed for continued cell growth and for energising muscles. Without water, muscle fatigue will occur along with lack of energy. This is particularly important to remember during periods of stern exercise, as not hydrating regularly throughout will cause damage to muscles and other parts of the body.
Support your kidneys
Bodily fluids remove waste from your body and cells. Toxins are removed via the kidneys and consequentially in your urine. This cannot happen if you do not consume enough fluids (not alcohol as this will dehydrate you even more). The kidneys will retain what they believe to be enough fluids for the body, resulting in dark and ‘smelly’ urine, followed by periods of dehydration.
Not a pleasant subject, but correct hydration aids your intestinal tract and keeps the colon working – if there is not enough water, you will undoubtedly suffer constipation. By adding more fibre and plenty of water to your diet, you should be trouble free.
Forget the fancy and expensive potions to rejuvenate yourself. Dehydration is one of the worst causes of wrinkles, saggy and dry aged skin. Your skin contains lots of water to act as a barrier to the elements, and to keep the moisture in, and this should be encouraged. So start with adequate hydration, then think about moisturisers and such.
It’s simple – water promotes healthy nail growth, and will aid in stopping nails become dry and flaky.
Another simple one – water promotes healthy hair growth, and aids in keeping it soft and easier to prevent splitting. Conditioners are all very well and make your hair feel smooth and silky by putting a protective barrier on it, but start at the root of the problem (no pun intended!) and stay hydrated.
Probably quite important for some of us. Water-rich foods tend to be lower in calories than others (think lettuce, melons and others in our ‘Best Fruits and Vegetables’ article). Broth based soups are also good for hydration. Many people also say that if they drink water before a meal, it makes them want to eat less as they start to feel fuller. However, this is not scientifically proven!
It is best to concentrate on the known health-giving properties of water, and worry less about losing weight, unless you really need to – this will probably be controlled by diet anyway.