They say we’re 60% of the wonderful stuff and yet nobody can quite decide on how much we should be drinking. Some doctors recommend drinking 2 litres a day; others advise 8 cups; some even suggest to just drink when you’re thirsty.
Regardless of how much you drink, drinking water is an essential part of a balanced diet, and is both healthy and cheap! It’s an essential part of every system in your body, whether it’s used to carry nutrients into your cells, flush waste out of your body or just generally keep tissues moist and supple. Read on to find out what our doctors here at London Doctors Clinic have to say about water!
Thirsty? Beware of Dehydration
A lack of water leads to dehydration, which can cause all manner of problems, from headaches and drowsiness to light headedness, dry mouth and decreased energy.
Adequate hydration is also needed for normal bowel function – when water levels are lower, your body pulls water from your stools to maintain hydration but leaves the stools harder and more difficult to pass, leading to constipation.
What Goes In Must Come Out
And vice versa!
You’re constantly losing body water, whether you know it or not – be it from your breath, your sweat, your urine or your bowel movements. Your body naturally tells you when it needs that water to be replaced, and that’s what we feel as thirst.
The First Sign of Dehydration: Urine!
If you’re rarely thirsty and your urine is a pale yellow colour (or colourless), then your fluid intake should be adequate. However, if your urine is a darker colour, or you’re only passing very small volumes of urine, this is a clear sign of dehydration.
A healthy, hydrated adult should aim to pass 0.5mL per kg (body mass) of urine per hour. So a 70kg male should aim to pass at least 35mL of urine per hour.
There are lots of hormones in your body that make sure you have the correct amount of water for your body to function properly, including aldosterone and ADH (anti-diuretic hormone).
How Does The Body Control Fluid Levels?
Aldosterone works to increase the amount of salt your body retains, and with that salt you also retain water. ADH works on your kidneys to increase the reabsorption of water back into your body. How much water you’ll need to drink to keep that water level topped up depends on a variety of things, including:
- Your level of exercise; the more you exercise, the more you sweat, and the more you may need to drink to compensate for that fluid loss.
- Your environment; if you’re in a hot or humid climate, then you’ll be sweating more and need to take in more water to replace that.
- If you’re ill; vomiting or diarrhoea cause additional water loss, whereas heart failure and some kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may require you to limit your fluid intake.
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding; women in these situations need additional water, especially when nursing.
- Your size and weight; larger and heavier people will need to consume slightly more water than their smaller counterparts.
Water: You Can Eat It Too!
Water doesn’t just come from the tap, either. Your food tends to provide you with around 20% of your total water intake, and many beverages such as tea and coffee are primarily water.
However, what you drink is important: some drinks are actually diuretics, which mean they promote water being passed as urine instead of being retained by the body.
Good drinks for hydration include waters infused with fruit, unsweetened teas and small amounts of juice. There are several foods that also have a very high water content – these include fruits such as strawberries, oranges and grapefruit, as well as other foods like cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and watermelon.
Drink Your Way Slim, Energised & Beautiful!
Water isn’t just necessary for your health, either. Whilst it helps you to maintain the balance of fluids you need for digestion and other bodily functions, it can also aid in weight loss.
Choosing to drink water over other drinks and foods with a higher percentage water content helps to fill you up and reduce your calorie intake, helping you to lose weight. It helps you feel more energised, with cells being more balanced in their electrolyte content.
Dehydration also makes your skin look dry and wrinkled, so drinking plenty of water can help your skin to look better and to flush out more toxins.
Can You to Drink Too Much Water?
It is possible to drink too much water, but this is rare. When too much water is consumed, your kidneys are unable to get rid of the extra water and the electrolytes/salts in your body get diluted to a level where your body may struggle to get the salts it needs in the right places.
For the majority of people, drinking little and often throughout the day as well as when they’re thirsty is enough.
You may want to see a doctor about certain issues related to water; this is especially important if you haven’t passed urine in over 8 hours or you find yourself urinating much more frequently over a long period of time. Constantly feeling thirsty can also be a symptom of other chronic conditions such as diabetes, so if you’re worried, book into your GP surgery as soon as possible. With eight convenient London clinics, you shouldn’t have to travel far to find a GP with LDC. And, as always, we have same day and future private GP appointments available!