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Water is the source of all life:
Did you know that there are in excess of 60 billion planets in our galaxy alone which could potentially support life? And this is because all of these planets contain one essential compound called ‘water,’ which dissolves and transports chemicals causing important metabolic reactions needed to sustain all life. Essentially, water is the source of all life and without it nothing can exist.
Why is water so important to us:
Given that your body is around 70% water, it’s critical to keep hydrated to ensure that it functions properly. There are many benefits of drinking water but here are some of the main ones;
*Helps to maintain electrolyte balance including things like sodium and potassium which are all essential to every day function. This includes things like keeping your blood pressure stable, regulating your heart beat, providing energy to get through the day and by allowing your muscles to contract properly. And if you’ve ever tried to exercise whilst dehydrated or even worse hung over, then you’d know how hard it is to get moving.
*Prevents illness – by helping your body to maintain a healthy PH (water is neutral) and also by helping your body to flush out toxins, reduce bad bacteria and infections, which can lead to more serious forms of disease.
*Prevents mental health issues – in many cases, things like anxiety and depression can be alleviated simply by staying hydrated.
*Helps to keep your skin hydrated – this leads to healthier skin which not only helps you to look younger but also helps to prevent things like acne too.
*Aids digestion – water keeps things flowing through your intestinal tract and kidneys keeping you regular which is so important.
*Is great for lots of other things such as decreasing headaches, preventing kidney stones, losing weight and much more.
How much water do we need:
We are constantly losing water primarily through our sweat and urine, so it needs to be replaced. Everybody is different, but it is recommended that we need to be drinking around 2+ litres of water per day. This is known as the 8×8 rule – 8 glasses 8 times per day. Obviously, if you are exercising or if the weather is warm you will probably need more than this. I drink about 3+litres per day and find that works for me. The best advice is to listen to your body, but in doing so, also don’t rely on your thirst mechanism which is not a reliable indicator of hydration. This is because by the time your mouth is dry and you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated (and usually by about 4+ glasses). By drinking water regularly instead of waiting to feel thirsty, you can ensure that you don’t become dehydrated.
It’s also important to realise that it is easy for your brain to mistake thirst for hunger, when in actual fact it’s your body just craving water. Instead, be mindful of how you feel and function. Before you feel thirsty, some other signs you can look for to determine if you are dehydrated include fatigue, confusion, muscle aches, stomach and joint pain. You can also monitor the colour of your urine; generally if its darker then you may be dehydrated.
Few of us are drinking enough water:
Despite the importance of drinking enough water, 80% of us are failing to do so. We are also consuming much less water in what we eat than we once did too. This is because processed foods, which today have become somewhat the norm, virtually have all of the water sucked out of them. This is the opposite to whole foods like vegetables which are full of water. But other than advising you to eat more veggies, here are some common reasons for not drinking enough water and how to overcome them.
Some common reasons for not drinking enough water and how to overcome them:
I’m too busy/I forget – sure we are all busy, but none of us are too busy to drink enough water. The key here is to remain mindful of the need to drink water throughout the day and then just be intentional about doing so. Carry a reusable bottle of water with you and even set yourself a reminder until you make it a habit.
I don’t like the taste of water – this is incorrect because water has no taste. If it does, then chances are that you’re tasting the impurities in the water itself, because clean fresh water should have no taste. The best advice is to drink filtered water to remove many of the nasties found in tap water such as chlorine, fluoride, bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, lead, rust, aluminium, mercury, hydrocarbons, unpleasant odours and so on. You will need to invest in a good water filter – either a freestanding filter or a plumbed in water filtration system. You could also just get portable filter which is especially good if you need to fill up when you are on the go. Also ensure your bottle is made from BPA free plastic, glass or food grade stainless steel is ok, to further avoid dangerous plastics and metals from leaching into your water. If you still don’t like the taste of plain water, then try squeezing fruit juice into your water such as fresh lemons or oranges.
I don’t feel thirsty – remember, as I mentioned earlier, if your thirsty it’s too late – you need to drink water regularly instead of waiting to feel thirsty, to ensure that you don’t become dehydrated.
I don’t want to put on weight – it’s funny but yes some of us believe that water causes weight gain, when if actual fact the opposite is true. Fat cells contain lots of toxins and as you lose weight, many of these toxins are being released into your body and are processed by your liver. If you don’t drink enough water then your liver will not be able to flush them out, working against weight loss. Also, if you aim to drink 1-2 glasses of water before every meal, you will find that you need much less food and with it less calories to satisfy you – resulting in accelerated fat loss.
I drink enough water in other beverages – coffee/tea, soft drinks, cordial, alcohol or anything else do not count in your water intake, so don’t count it.
I will wet myself – As we get older or after having kids, we can lose strength in our pelvic floor region. Simple pelvic floor exercises can help to restore these muscles and minimize the frequency of needing to go to the toilet. Try to minimize your water intake after 6pm if you are worried about getting through the night. You can also try mixing your filtered water with a splash of freshly squeezed juice and a pinch of sea salt. The tiny particles of sugar from the juice and salt will help the molecules bond better with your cells and reduce your bathroom frequency.
I really can’t emphasis enough the importance of drinking clean water enough, to improve every aspect of your wellbeing, so ensure you make this a priority.
So I’m interested to know, how much water do you drink per day and what amount do you think is optimal for you?
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