During summer, it’s essential to make sure you keep sipping on water to stay healthy and hydrated.
The human body is made up of around 60% water and staying hydrated is vital for keeping us functioning, so depriving yourself of H2O can potentially lead to some pretty significant consequences.
Despite this, new research by Actiph Water suggests that 90% of Brits are drinking less than the recommended two litres of water a day.
Even more shockingly, one in 10 are drinking no water at all, putting them at serious risk of dehydration.
So why is staying hydrated, especially in the heat, so vital? And how can you make it happen?
Why is water important for health?
“Water makes up nearly two-thirds of your body and is essential for you to function properly,” says Dr Luke Powles, associate clinical director at Bupa Health Clinics.
“Your body uses water to help with many different processes, including transporting nutrients and oxygen around your body, getting rid of waste products, controlling your temperature and the function of your digestive system. Drinking enough water will also help to keep your skin healthy.
“It’s important to drink enough fluids, otherwise dehydration can develop,” Powles adds. “This is where there is a lack of water in your body. “It can be brought on either by not drinking enough, or by losing water. For example, if someone’s experiencing vomiting or diarrhoea, they may lose fluids, along with important sugars, salts and minerals. Other causes of dehydration include sweating a lot or drinking too much alcohol.”
How can you tell if you’re dehydrated?
Powles says one of the best indicators for hydration is the number of times you pass urine and its colour – it should ideally be pale yellow.
“If you don’t need to go as often as usual, or you go less than four times a day, you only pass a small amount each time, and it’s dark in colour, it’s likely that you’re dehydrated,” he continues.
“Other signs include having a headache, feeling tired and weak, confusion, mood swings and a dry mouth, lips and eyes, plus feeling thirsty, feeling dizzy or light-headed.”
What can I do to make drinking enough water easier?
Some people just don’t like the taste of plain water, while others simply forget to keep filling up their cup or sipping regularly enough. Here are some simple tips to make sure you’re staying hydrated…
1. Have a glass of water as your first drink each morning
Rather than reaching for the cafetiere first thing, make a habit of rehydrating your body by drinking a glass of water immediately after you wake up.
2. Top up on hydrating herbal tea
Black tea and coffee act as a mild diuretic, which can cause further dehydration if you’re drinking a lot of them and not getting enough water too. But hot drinks can help you stay hydrated – try infusing a herbal teabag into hot water, as this contributes to your daily water intake.
3. Utilise fruits
If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding fresh herbs and fruit to a jug of plain H20 for a refreshing flavourful kick.
4. Get a tracker or set alarms
It’s easy to get busy and forget to drink water throughout the day. You could set reminders on your phone, so that you are prompted to drink water at certain times of the day.
If you’re working from home, nipping to the tap or fridge to top up will help with regular desk breaks, too!