Hydration: The Overlooked Essential for Health

We all know oxygen is essential for life, but the runner up in importance is water. Our bodies are approximately 60% water, and this liquid lifeline is involved in nearly every bodily function. Amid the bustling demands of daily life, it’s easy to overlook the simple act of staying hydrated.

Proper hydration is crucial for energy, cognition, blood circulation, regulating temperature and cushioning joints to aiding digestion and delivering nutrients, water is an unsung hero in the symphony of our existence. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and poor concentration. Severe dehydration is extremely dangerous. That’s why health experts recommend drinking enough fluids daily is a vital component of good health.

In this article, we will explore the myriad benefits of adequate hydration and offer some delightful tips to make water consumption a breeze.

How Much Fluid Do We Need?

General recommendations over the years have suggested 8 cups or around 3 pints as the magic daily number for water intake. But our individual fluid needs differ based on factors like weight, age, gender, activity level, environment and climate.  A reliable guide is that we need to aim for around 35ml water per kg body weight. So at 50Kg you would need around 1.75 litres a day before adding extra for environment and activity; 60kg would be 2.1 litres and 70kg 2.45 litres.

However, the easiest guideline to follow is to drink enough so that you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is light yellow or nearly clear in colour.  Some of that fluid can come from food and other beverages like juice or milk. But water is an ideal source since it has no sugar, calories, or artificial ingredients.

Ways hydration supports you:

  1. Circulation: Well-hydrated blood flows efficiently, transporting oxygen and nutrients around the body.

2: Energy: Dehydration can lead to feelings of tiredness and drowsiness, and fatigue often sneaks in when we least expect it, leaving us sluggish and drained. However, the solution might be as simple as reaching for a glass of water. By maintaining proper hydration, you provide your body with the fuel it needs to function optimally, promoting sustained energy throughout the day.

  1. Support Your Immune System: Water is a vital component in the production of lymph, a fluid that carries immune cells throughout your body. Staying hydrated ensures that your immune system can effectively ward off illnesses, keeping you resilient against things such as common colds and infections.
  2. Nourish Your Skin: For a radiant complexion, hydration is key. Water helps to flush out toxins, keeping your skin clear and promoting a healthy glow.
  3. Boost Cognitive Function: Proper hydration is linked to improved cognitive performance, including better concentration, enhanced memory, and heightened alertness.
  4. Kidney health: Drinking adequate water filters waste efficiently so kidneys aren’t overburdened.
  5. Digestion: Water helps move food through your digestive system, helping digestion, promoting gut health and avoiding constipation.
  6. Endurance and temperature regulation: Proper hydration helps regulate body temperature by moving heat from working muscles and other tissues to the skin which cools the body through perspiration This enables muscles to work for longer without overheating.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Now that we understand the benefits of staying hydrated, let’s explore some easy and enjoyable ways to incorporate more water into our daily lives.

  1. On waking: Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up as this helps rehydrate your body after sleep.
  2. Infuse with Flavour: For those who find plain water uninspiring, infusing it with natural flavours can be a game-changer. Drop in a few slices of fresh lemon, cucumber, berries or mint to jazz it up with a burst of taste without the unhelpful added sugars found in many flavoured waters. Experiment with different combinations to find your favourite.
  3. Set Reminders: In the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, it’s easy to forget to drink water. Set reminders on your phone or use apps designed to prompt you to take a water break. Consistency is key, and reminders can help establish a healthy hydration routine.
  4. Carry a Reusable Bottle: Having a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day and sip from it regularly as you work or do errands.
  5. Make it a Ritual: Create rituals around hydration. Start your day with a refreshing glass of water, make it a habit to drink water before and with meals, or unwind with a calming herbal tea in the evening.
  6. Track Your Progress: Consider keeping a hydration journal to track your daily water intake. Celebrate your achievements and use it as motivation to consistently meet your hydration goals. Seeing your progress on paper can be a powerful incentive.

In conclusion, the benefits of making hydration a priority are vast and transformative, impacting our energy levels, immune system, skin health, and cognitive function. By incorporating simple and enjoyable strategies into our daily lives, we can effortlessly improve hydration. Along with plenty of fruit and vegetables, adequate fluids truly are one of the simplest secrets to feeling your best every day. So, sip to thrive, and let the pure, revitalising essence of water be the foundation of your journey to optimal health and wellbeing.