Ideally people should be drinking around two litres of fluid a day
The human body is made up of nearly two thirds water and is vital for almost every function in the body.
Humans – and animals – need more fluids in the summer because it is hotter and we are sweatier.
Ideally people should be drinking around two litres of fluid a day but, as the British Nutrition Foundation points out, food also makes up around 20 per cent of the body’s total fluid intake.
Drinking enough water improves everything from digestion to complexion – but if you’re not downing enough and become dehydrated you are likely to feel tired, headache-y, dizzy, have difficulty concentrating and feel anxious and irritable.
Standard advice is to drink around 6-8 glasses of fluid a day
How much a person needs is dependent on the individual and their lifestyle or environment – someone who lives in a hot country or exercises a lot needs more
In the summer our need for fluids becomes greater as we sweat more in the heat but Rob Hobson, Head of Nutrition for Healthspan explained increasing your fluid doesn’t mean drinking just water.
Hobson told Express.co.uk: “Recommending a water requirement is misleading as it is fluid and not just water per se that is important.
“How much a person needs is dependent on the individual and their lifestyle or environment – someone who lives in a hot country or exercises a lot needs more.
“For older people dehydration is also the leading cause of falls and fractures as it can cause dizziness and disorientation.”
Standard advice is to drink around 6-8 glasses of fluid a day but, as Rob points out, this can come from juices, teas, coffees and other soft drinks and also food. He points to ones with more obviously high water contents like watermelon (92%) and cucumber (97%) but also ones you wouldn’t necessarily think about including yogurt (85%) and white steamed fish (77%).
So what are the other benefits of keeping your fluid levels topped up?
It can help you exercise
Whether you are an elite athlete or just a regular gym goer or jogger you lose a lot of fluid when exercising – as much as a litre or two an hour especially in the hot weather – so you need to top this back up to sustain your energy and help prevent muscle cramps and heatstroke.
Drink water before, during and after your work out but try to sip steadily rather than guzzling gallons just before you run or head off to the gym which you will then feel uncomfortably sloshing about in your stomach as you move.
Even mild dehydration can alter energy levels so you can lack motivation
It can help you lose more weight
Drinking a large glass of water before a meal has long been a trick recommended by diet experts. Not least because it appears to work. Why? The part of the brain responsible for interpreting hunger and thirst is the same and we often misinterpret one for the other and eat when we are thirsty rather than hungry.
Research shows people on weight loss diets lose more when they increase their water intake.
A 2015 study from the University of Birmingham showed participants who consumed 500ml (around a pint) of still water half an hour before each of their three main meals lost an average of 4.3kg (9.4lbs) over a 12 week period compared to a group who drank water before one meal only, or none at all, who lost just 0.8kg (1.76lbs) over the same period.
It keeps your regular
Alison Cullen, nutrition therapist from traditional herbal medicine brand A.Vogel said: “Water is needed to keep your bowels and digestive tract moving smoothly and aids with proper and regular elimination.
“When you are dehydrated, your body absorbs water from any resources it has, including the bowel. This can cause your stool to dry out resulting on constipation.”
Herbal laxative remedies mixed with water such as Linoforce (made from linseeds, senna and frangula) have been used for decades to help.
Drinking water can help you lose more weight
It acts as an anxiety quencher
Studies from the University of Connecticut Human Performance Laboratory (2012) have shown how even mild dehydration can alter energy levels so you can lack motivation, think clearly and are also more likely to feel stressed and depressed.
The studies showed both men and women experienced negative changes in their mood when they had not had an adequate intake of fluids including feeling tired, tense and anxious and these changes were felt more significantly by the women.
Other studies suggest water could be something of an ‘anxiety quencher’ – unsurprisingly perhaps when some of the symptoms of dehydration like feeling light-headed, dizzy and having a racing heart are also anxiety responses.