Why does your body need water?
Water is the most important nutrient in your body. It is needed for health, growth, and development and it makes up over two-thirds of a healthy human body.
Water is needed for most functions of your body including:
Maintaining the health of every cell in your body.
Transporting nutrients and oxygen around your body by keeping your bloodstream liquid enough to flow through your blood vessels.
Getting rid of waste products.
Controlling your body temperature through sweating.
Aiding digestion and preventing constipation.
Keeping mucous membranes moist such as those of the lungs and mouth, lubricating and cushioning your joints, and acting as a shock absorber in your eyes, spinal cord and amniotic sac in pregnancy.
Moisturising your skin to maintain a healthy texture and appearance.
How much water do you need to drink to keep hydrated?
Most adults lose about 2.5 to 3 litres of water per day and this water needs to be replaced. Your body can last weeks without food, but only days without water.
The amount of water your body needs varies from person to person and depends on many factors. These include: your health, how active you are and where you live. You should drink enough during the day so that your urine is a pale clear colour.
The NHS eatwell guide recommends that you drink six to eight glasses of water of day, and that low fat milk, sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee, all count towards this amount.
Benefits of keeping hydrated
Glowing skin – a hydrated body helps to keep your skin healthy and may prevent fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
Control your appetite and weight – many people eat when their body is dehydrated. By drinking water throughout the day and before a meal can decrease your appetite and help prevent overeating. It also helps to keep your metabolism working efficiently.
Increase your energy – dehydration leads to fatigue. The more water you drink, the more awake and alert you’ll feel.
Healthy mind – your brain functions better when it is fully hydrated and you’ll benefit from thinking faster and clearer, being more focused, and a better memory.
Eliminates digestive problems – insufficient water consumption is one of the primary causes of constipation. Sufficient water helps transport nutrients around your body, and flush out waste products and toxins.
Prevents high blood pressure – a hydrated body helps keep the blood moving freely through your veins and arteries.
Improved digestive system - water helps improve your body’s digestive process and to maintain a healthy urinary tract and digestive system.
Strong, healthy and lubricated joints - water provides moisture for your joints to help them remain strong and flexible.
What happens if you become dehydrated?
You become dehydrated if your body loses more fluid than you consume. You may need to vary your water consumption based on the outside temperature, your activity, and your health.
Dehydration can become a serious problem and may happen more easily if you have: diabetes, been vomiting, diarrhoea, heatstroke, drunk too much alcohol, been sweating too much or you are in a high temperature of 38C or above.
It’s beneficial to be aware of the symptoms of dehydration, so that you can act on them and prevent it becoming more serious. Symptoms include: urinating less than usual and when you do it being dark yellow and strong smelling, feeling thirsty, dizzy, lightheaded, tired, having a dry mouth, having a headache, and mood swings.
Dehydration is easily fixed by drinking more fluids. Serious dehydration will need urgent treatment and you must go straight to A&E.
Expertise at North Downs Hospital
Keeping hydrated affects so many areas of your body and it is essential for optimal body functioning. If your body has not been fully hydrated for a long period of time this could lead to problems occurring, such as ageing skin, obesity, dry eyes, issues with your digestion and urinary tract, and joint pain.
At North Downs Hospital they are proud to work with consultant specialists in many disciplines and you can rest assured that they are there to help should the need arise.
If you’d like to make an appointment with any of North Downs Hospital's specialists then simply call them on 01883 348981 or complete the online contact form.
Their advice is to ensure you keep your body hydrated and keep sipping water throughout the day.