Water for health
Helping you keep hydrated
Our bodies are made up of two thirds water. Making sure we drink enough to keep hydrated is vital for life and for staying healthy.
Staying hydrated will help you to:
- Boost energy and stamina levels
- Combat tiredness
- Clean the blood as it passes through your kidneys
- Control your body temperature
- Assist in digesting and removing waste products
- Help with clearer skin and fresher breath
Estimates vary on how much liquid we need each day to prevent dehydration, but many sources recommend between six and eight glasses, or one to two litres, a day.
This is in addition to the water provided by the food we eat, which makes up around 20% of fluid intake.
The best way to keep hydrated is to drink water as it contains no sugar, caffeine or alcohol. It’s the cheapest way too. Two litres of water from the tap costs just ⅓p compared to 45p for the same amount of bottled water from a supermarket.*Other good alternatives include milk or squash. In fact you can get fluid intake from nearly everything you drink, apart from stronger alcoholic drinks, such as wine and spirits.
If you are very active or exposed to a hot environment you will need to drink more. For example, for every hour of exercise you do you will need to drink at least one litre.
How to tell if you’re dehydrated?
Our bodies lose water through sweating, going to the toilet and breathing.
Signs of dehydration include feeling dizzy; tired; irritable or having a headache. In fact many of the symptoms of a hangover are caused by dehydration.
You may also feel hungry or thirsty. It is easy to mistake hunger pangs for thirst. The best way to identify whether the feeling is hunger or thirst is to drink water the first time your brain tells you that you're hungry.
Another useful guide to checking your hydration levels is to look at the colour of your wee! When you go to the toilet your urine it should be pale yellow or nearly transparent. If it is dark yellow or brown then you need to drink more water.
Did you know?
Children and elderly people are more vulnerable to dehydration because their bodies are not so good at letting them know when they are thirsty.
Better hydration in elderly people helps maintain body temperature, improve mental performance and oral health, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps prevent falls through fainting, pressure sores, constipation, urinary tract infections, kidney and gallstones and low blood pressure.
Top tip – Always keep a water bottle handy which you can fill up time and time again.