Why hydration is your best friend

When you think about your health, does your water intake top your list? Perhaps it should! Drinking water is so key to our overall health and has been preached as a solution to many ills. It is absolutely true that our body (including our brain!) needs water to function properly –  a water loss of just 1-2% of our body weight begins affecting our attention and short term memory (4)!

Talking about water may not seem as exciting as the newest miracle superfood or a breakthrough nutritional therapy, but it is still required to maintain good health. 

Did you know that your water intake comes from both what you drink and from the solid foods you eat? Think about a juicy apple, freshly cut cucumber and of course watermelon – all of these foods have a large water component. Smoothies, soups and herbal teas also count towards your daily intake.

But how much water is necessary? That depends, but the general guideline is 2-2.7 litres per day for females and 2.5-3.7 litres per day for males (Liska). Personally I like to aim for 2.5-3 litres per day between water, smoothies and herbal teas; this keeps me feeling energized and alert throughout the day. I can always tell when I haven’t had enough water!

Your body needs water to (2,4):

  • Maintain blood volume
  • Move nutrients to where they need to go
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Lubricate joints and internal organs
  • Provide structure to cells and tissues
  • Remove waste

When water loss happens and it is not replaced in a timely manner, dehydration can occur. Dehydration can have negative effects on the body, starting at just a 1-2% water loss (4)! We actually wake up dehydrated, having lost an estimated 1 litre of water overnight just by breathing (1)! 

Negative effects of water loss include (4):

  • Decreased athletic performance
  • Poor concentration
  • Longer reaction time
  • Short term memory issues
  • Moodiness
  • Anxiety

So what can you do? Here are some tips to help you increase your water intake and reach that 2+ litres per day:

  • Start your day with water (keep a water bottle/jar beside your bed and drink 500-1,000 ml of water when you wake up)
  • Keep water nearby and drink regularly throughout the day (try using a large 1 litre jar and aim to drink 2 of these)
  • Avoid caffeine for the first 90 minutes of the day
  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink water 
  • Include herbal teas to add variety
  • Try infused water if you need some flavour (adding lemon, cucumber, mint, lemon balm and other fruits/herbs helps liven things up)

And last but not least, please use glass or metal bottles and avoid plastic water bottles if you can! There is a connection between plastics and disruption to our endocrine system (hormones), so it’s best to avoid plastics where possible (3). Plastics also have a really negative environmental impact, with microplastic particles now being found in our air, soil and food chain; even the microalgae are affected, with nanoplastics interfering with their ability to perform photosynthesis (5)!

  1. Breus, Dr. Michael. “The Relationship Between Water And Sleep Is A Two Way Street – How To Avoid Dehydration.” Your Guide to Better Sleep, 17 Feb. 2019, thesleepdoctor.com/2019/02/17/the-relationship-between-water-and-sleep-is-a-two-way-street-how-to-avoid-dehydration.
  2. Liska, Deann, et al. “Narrative Review of Hydration and Selected Health Outcomes in the General Population.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 1, 2019, p. 70., doi:10.3390/nu11010070.
  3. Mathieu-Denoncourt, Justine, et al. “Plasticizer Endocrine Disruption: Highlighting Developmental and Reproductive Effects in Mammals and Non-Mammalian Aquatic Species.” General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol. 219, 2015, pp. 74–88., doi:10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.11.003.
  4. Riebl, Shaun K., and Brenda M. Davy. “The Hydration Equation.” ACSMʼs Health & Fitness Journal, vol. 17, no. 6, 2013, pp. 21–28., doi:10.1249/fit.0b013e3182a9570f.
  5. Wang, Yung-Li, et al. “Potent Impact of Plastic Nanomaterials and Micromaterials on the Food Chain and Human Health.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 21, no. 5, 2020, p. 1727., doi:10.3390/ijms21051727.


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