Water is the most vital component that our body needs, but there are many
opinions on exactly how much should we be drinking. More than two thirds
of the human body is made up of water which is why it's an essential
element to allow the body to function properly. There can also be serious
health complications when you don't drink enough water so it is not something
that should be avoided!
How much water should we be drinking?
Health experts recommend eight, 8-ounce glasses a day which is around 2 litres. Specifically The European Food Saftey Authority suggested 2 litres for men and 1.6 litres for women. However, this is all very dependent on your level of activity, size, general health and whether or not it’s a hot day! But little and often is the best way to stay hydrated rather than consuming large amounts of water at one time. This allows the body to fully absorb the water into your bloodstream.
As we know, the type of fluids consumed are just as important. Fruit juices and some sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar- not good for physical endurance, our teeth or our diet. The same way alcohol may quench our thirst but it is so dehydrating that more water would need to be consumed in order to maintain good levels of hydration. Similarly, tea and coffee consumption will need to be kept an eye on due to caffeine levels so introducing pure water is a lot more beneficial than any fluids.
Actual water quality is not something to be overlooked, when tap water contains many toxins that are used to 'purify' / sanitize tap water into drinking water. Toxins such as chlorine, lead and mercury are present in tap water. Although purchasing bottled water may not be something you want to invest your money in, there are cheaper alternatives such as filtered bottles which are cheap and can be easier to maintain by filing up with tap water. Bottled water also contains some vitamins as well as the PH level being beneficial to general health.
If you don't like the taste of water, there are alternatives like sparkling water or adding sliced fruit into your glass to add a twist. And there are added dietary benefits by adding lemon's into your water, if you want a real health detox!
To check how hydrated you are, then the best thing to do is keep an eye on the colour of your urine as this is the biggest indicator. The darker the color, the more dehydrated your body is and the more clearer and lighter coloured means its healthy. When your dehydrated you may experience other symptoms like lightheadedness and dry mouth. Being drowsy and confused is a more serious symptom of dehydration so best to grab that water fast!