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Are you drinking enough water? See our 8 easy ways to increase your intake...

Next to oxygen, water is the most important factor for survival of man and animals. A person can do without food for five weeks or more, but the body cannot survive without water for longer than five days (Langley S. 2011).

I see many clients who just aren't drinking enough water, and a scary number who don't drink any at all. When you consider that water is a vital part of human life and that approximately two thirds of the body's mass is made up of water, this should begin to indicate just how important it is to our health and wellbeing.

So, why exactly is it important for us to drink water?

Water is essential for life and its functions in the human body include the following:
  • It is a vital component of all body fluids, tissues, cells, lymph, blood and glandular secretions
  • Helps to maintain normal body temperature through sweating and respiration
  • Transports nutrients and chemicals around the body
  • Provides a medium for chemical reactions
  • Helps digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
  • Flushes out waste products and toxins through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements

The dangers of dehydration

Insufficient water consumption causes dehydration and toxicity of the body. Even mild dehydration can impair physical and mental function.

Symptoms of dehydration include: dry mouth, headaches, yellow urine, muscle cramps, nausea & vomiting, constipation, heart palpitations, light headedness, weakness, decreased urine output. Over-hydration is very rare.

How much water do you need?

We require water in greater amounts than we are able to produce. We lose approximately 3 litres of water per day through the urine, sweat, breathing and in the faeces. If you consider that we take in just over a litre of water in the foods that we consume and with that generated by our internal body processes, this means that we need to drink over 1.5 litres of fluid per day simply to cover our losses.

The optimal level of water intake differs from person to person, from day to day. Thirst is the most important indicator of need but not everyone is in touch with recognising their thirst or can mistake it for hunger instead.

One way to gauge if you are drinking sufficient water is by the colour of your urine. If it is a pale, white wine colour, then this indicates that your water intake is sufficient. If it is very dark yellow, then you are not drinking enough.

Water requirements are lessened by sedentary lifestyles, higher consumption of fruits, vegetables and sprouted food, and cold, damp climates.

Water requirements are increased by physical activity, higher consumption of meat, eggs or salty foods and dry, hot or windy climates.

Guidelines for water intake

Government guidelines for both Australia and the UK recommend the following daily water intake:

Adult women – 8 cups per day (1.6L per day)
Adult men – 10 cups per day (2L per day)

If you live or work in an extremely hot climate you may require more water than this to remain hydrated, especially if you are very active. Needs also increase when running a fever, or with diarrhoea & vomiting.

Which water is best?

Finding a high-quality source of water is becoming a difficult task in the modern world. A lot of the water supply is full of chemicals including chlorine and fluoride, but also toxic organic compounds and chemicals such as heavy metals, pesticide residues and PCB's. The purer the water you drink, the easier it can permeate your cells and the more hydrated you become.

The best water to drink is naturally clean, pure and full of naturally occurring minerals. This includes well water, natural spring water, artesian or spring waters and mineral water. These types of water all contain essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium and sodium. If you are unable to source these types of water, then consider getting a home water filter.

8 easy ways to drink more water….

If you're not used to drinking much water then start slow and increase your intake gradually by a glass a day to begin with. Sip it throughout the day rather than drinking large amounts all at once.

Here's our tips that can make increasing your water intake easier and enjoyable!
  1. Have water available at all times so it is always accessible. Carry a water bottle with you, preferable glass or non-toxic materials. When on the move ensure you have water available wherever you are.
  2. Set a goal of how much water to drink per day and keep track of it by how many times you refill your water bottle.
  3. Use fruit to add flavour to your water. Try the following:
    • Add fresh lemon or lime slices
    • Tear up some fresh mint leaves and leave to steep in water before drinking
    • Fill a large jug with water, sliced fruit (try citrus, berries or melon) and ice; refrigerate overnight
    • Let pineapple chunks soak in water for at least two hours
  4. Try to recognise hunger vs thirst – often we mistake this and end up eating instead of reaching for a glass of water.
  5. Drink unsweetened coconut water which is high in water and electrolytes, as well as herbal non-caffeinated teas.
  6. Eat water rich foods like watermelon or tomato which are over 90% water.
  7. Link drinking water to already established habits eg, every time you go to the bathroom, drink coffee or watch TV. You can even set reminders on your phone if you're finding it really hard to remember!
  8. Limit intake of coffee, caffeinated tea and alcohol which act as diuretics causing the body to release water.
If you have any questions or would like further advice on anything to do with water, from help with sourcing the best type of filters, water bottles or regarding your daily intake then please contact us at BodyNatured.

Yours in good health, naturally! Victoria x

Sources:

  • Batmanghelidj F. (2008). Your Body's Many Cries for Water. Global Health Limited.
  • Langley S. (2011). The Naturopathy Workbook. The College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM). West Sussex, UK
  • Murray M & Pizzorno J. (2012). The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Third Edition. Atria Paperback. New York
  • Pitchford P. (2002). Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books. California, USA
  • National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Available at: (https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55_australian_dietary_guidelines.pdf). Accessed:18/05/2016


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