We are always being told to drink more water, but is it as important as we think?
As we head into the summer months, with warmer weather on the rise, it gives us a great opportunity to bring our attention back to the basics around water and how increasing our intake can have hugely positive benefits to both our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Our partners Paycare have the following advice on the impact of keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of water has on our mental health.
“Water is one of the key contributing elements that allow us to thrive,” Paycare’s wellbeing manager and mental health first aid trainer at Paycare, Kerry, explains.
“Drinking the recommended amount of water every day is essential for taking care of our mental health. Dehydration can rapidly impact on how we think and feel, suggesting that there could be mood cognitive consequences.
“We can often sometimes associate lack of drinking water with thirst, however, by the time you are thirsty, you have already hit a potential mood change. This of course, can then have an impact on work, concentration and potentially relationships too. Drinking enough water keeps our brain and overall health in check.”
With water making up nearly two-thirds of our body – keeping our water levels up is a must, making it essential for our body to function properly.
So we can explore the physical benefits of staying hydrated, this month we’ve teamed up with, friend of Paycare and healthcare expert, Laura Butler of WelLBe Coaching, who provides us with 6 top tips to staying hydrated.
“Water influences and supports all of the vital systems in the body, meaning that the benefits of upping our intake are quite literally, endless,” she said.
“Everything from increased brainpower to providing energy, promoting healthy weight management, flushing out toxins, improving complexion, boosting the immune system, preventing headaches, lubricating your joints and much more. In fact, quite often when you think you are hungry, you are actually dehydrated and craving water.
“But how much is enough and what if you don’t like the taste? Here are my 6 top tips when it comes to increasing your water intake successfully.”
How much should I be drinking?
Depending on your unique body size, the amount of water your body requires will vary greatly, however the national recommended amount is between two to three litres per day.
This can be affected by how much exercise you do, the more you sweat the more you need to re-hydrate, how much caffeine you drink, try going one for one on caffeine and water and whether you are in a hot climate. Super-hot summers require more water.
How do I know I am drinking enough?
Well, it seems a little graphic but when your urine is on the light side. If you’re going to the toilet and your sample is dark and there’s not much of it, then you’re likely not drinking enough water.
If you have to empty your bladder about every two or three hours then you’re about right, but if you’re going constantly, you could be drinking too much water.
Take note, when you first start to increase water consumption, you WILL need to go to the bathroom more often than you’re used to, but that will only last for a few days and then the body will adjust.
Pimp your water
I meet a lot of people who struggle early on to drink 2 litres of water au naturel every day, if this is you, here are my favourite ways to make water more exciting:
- Add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or orange to water
- Apple cider vinegar
- Add mint leaves to water
- Use a fabulous drinking glass or goblet
- Heat water and drink with lemon
Make water a habit
When you first try to increase your water intake you may find that even with the best intentions you can forget to drink your target amount throughout the day, but keep going.
It takes time to embed a new habit and you can do yourself a favour by setting water reminders on your phone, leaving glass bottles of water in your car, on your desk, at home.
Or keep a lovely jug of filtered water in your fridge at home or near your workspace containing the amount of water you want to drink each day or a time marked water bottle.
Start the day the healthy way
Drinking water first thing has so many health benefits including boosting your metabolism, especially if it is warm with a slice of lemon.
I always recommend one to two glasses of water first thing in the morning. You’ve been asleep for six to 10 hours, so it’s time to hydrate. This can even replace morning coffee, as rehydrating the body and brain will lead to clearer thinking and better energy.
Filtering water improves the taste and smell of water, often by reducing chlorine, which is added to kill harmful bacteria. Some filters can also reduce other contaminants such as lead, benzene, MTBE, chloramines, and PCBs.
There are many types of water filters as well as many types of water filtering technologies. Finding the “best one” depends on the amount of space you can afford to clear out for it, your budget, and the specific water contaminants in your area.
If you can’t access a filter for your water, then let drinking water stand at room temp for an hour or more, this reduces the amount of chlorine in drinking water, as the chlorine will evaporate.