the importance of water in the body

The human body is made up of approximately 60% water, the brain is 75% water and our blood is 83%. We are continually losing water over the day through urine, sweat and in our breath as vapour. This water has to be replaced, as the body cannot store water. In fact, the human body can last weeks without food but only days without water; water is absolutely essential to life.

Essential Functions of Water

  • Acts as a delivery system, taking nutrients to cells and removing waste
  • Forms the base of many bodily fluids such as blood and saliva
  • Helps regulate body temperature
  • Forms fluid surrounding joints
  • Needed for digestion, softening and dissolving food components
  • Essential for normal bowel movements and preventing constipation
  • Keeps skin hydrated

FACTS

  • Men have higher body water content than women
  • Body water content falls with age to around 50% in the elderly
  • During a 3-hour flight you can lose up to 1.5 litres of body water!

water-skin-hydration

Dehydration

Dehydration can result from not drinking enough, from losing too much fluid through sweat  – for example in hot temperatures or when exercising for long periods, or from vomiting and diarrhoea when we are unwell. The cells of the body cannot function properly without water and a drop in our body’s water levels can trigger the following symptoms of dehydration:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of concentration
  • Mood changes and slow responses
  • Light headedness or dizziness
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dry skin
  • Dry and cracked lips

Furthermore, if the body is continually dehydrated there is a risk of more serious problems such as constipation, urinary tract infections and kidney stones. The simplest way to tell if you are getting enough is to check the colour of your urine – it should be light in colour, dark urine is a sure sign you need to drink up.

stress-skin-woman

Energy and Exercise Performance

Dehydration is one for the fastest routes to low energy; a drop in body water of just 1 or 2 percent can result in your energy levels dropping significantly. And it’s not just physical energy, its mental energy too; ability to think clearly, mood, concentration and memory all suffer when we are dehydrated. If you feel your energy or concentration is flagging, a glass of water may be all you need to perk up. Water is also essential for exercise performance, as your muscles cannot function properly without adequate fluids.

brain is water

Appetite and Weight

The feeling of being thirsty is often mistaken for hunger, particularly as we get older as the thirst mechanism declines with age.  Therefore, drinking plenty of water can actually help with appetite control.

Water ‘pre-loading’ (drinking water before meals) can help you to eat less and is a relatively easy habit to implement if trying to lose weight. A 2015 study for example, found that simply drinking 500ml of water 30 minutes before each meal, helped overweight adults lose an extra 1.3kg in 12 weeks (1). Foods with a high water content will also help keep us feeling full and help appetite control; fruit and vegetables, porridge and soups are especially good for this.

Detoxification

Water is important to remove waste products from the body and to help the body process and get rid of any toxins. The kidneys require plenty of water to filter and remove impurities and waste from the blood. The liver, your body’s main detoxification organ also needs water to neutralise harmful substances so they can be safely removed from the body. Adding a squeeze of lemon to your water will further stimulate the liver’s detoxification pathways.

drink-water

Skin

Dehydration causes the skin to become dry, and look dull and even makes wrinkles look worse. Staying well hydrated is essential for your skin to stay radiant, to help prevent acne and to generally look and function at its best. Fluid retention also occurs when the body is short on fluids, as it hangs on to the precious water it does have – this can make skin look puffy and can make you feel bloated all over. When we drink plenty of water, it helps the body rid itself of excess sodium and ironically reduces water retention.

How Much?

Women need around 2 litres of fluid per day, while men require 2.5 litres to stay hydrated. We do get some of this from foods, so a woman eating 7 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day, for example, may only need 1.5 litres. However, requirements will increase in hot temperatures or if exercising.

Tips and Help

Simply keeping a bottle of water on your desk at work, or filling a jug of water to drink during the day at home can help you drink more. Seeing it is a reminder and it also means you can easily monitor how much you have drunk, compared with trying to keep score of how many glasses you’ve had.

The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plain water, preferably filtered or mineral water.  However other drinks such as spa water, diluted fruit juice, vegetable juice, herbal and fruit teas can be included for variety.

NOTE:

It is not good to drink gallons of water with a meal, as this will dilute the digestive juices making them less effective. Limit yourself to a glass of water with meals if possible.

glass of water

Try the following for some variety

  • Simply add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water
  • Spa Water – add slices of fruit and herbs to water and leave in a jug or bottle overnight for the flavours to infuse into the water. Try orange and lemon slices, strawberry and basil, mint and cucumber or make your own combinations.
  • Steepers – like spa water but with hot water – apple slices and a cinnamon stick or ginger with lemon are great.
  • Make a juice with mostly vegetables and a little bit of fruit to sweeten; cucumber and celery are both high in water and work well. Cucumber, pear and mint is a refreshing combination, apple, carrot, celery and parsley is also good.
  • Some good herbal and fruit teas are: Pukka vanilla chai (caffeine free), Pukka Apple and cinnamon, Teapigs Rhubarb and ginger
  • 1-3 daily Beauty & Go drinks will contribute to your fluid intake as well as feeding you and your skin with essential nutrients, antioxidants and skin-feeding superfoods.

beauty and go detox tea book

Referencies
1. Parretti HM1, Aveyard P2, Blannin A3, Clifford SJ1, Coleman SJ3, Roalfe A1, Daley AJ1. Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Sep;23(9):1785-91
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  1. […] Water is of course essential to keep the body and skin hydrated. Your hair is also 25% water and gets dry if dehydrated just like the rest of the body, so drinking 2 litres every day will help you achieve lustrous hair and skin. […]

  2. […] internally will also allow your skin to hold on to more water. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water […]

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