Water is the most important nutrient in your diet and it performs countless vital functions in your body. These include removing toxins and waste from your body, maintaining blood circulation, supplying other nutrients to where they’re needed and regulating your internal body temperature .
Water is lost from your body every day through these processes. You need to balance your intake of water with how much you lose through urinating, sweating and breathing. In summer, the higher temperatures mean you lose more water and you need to drink more to counteract this1. The current recommended levels are 2 litres for women and 2.5 litres for men, per day.
You can boost your water intake with all kinds of fluids including tea, coffee and soup, and eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables will also help you stay hydrated. It’s really important to drink lots of water before, during and after exercising in the heat – and you should also consider using a sports drink containing electrolytes and carbohydrates1.
Here are the top five reasons why you should make drinking enough water a priority this summer.
1. It can help you to control your appetite
Water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables should form a large part of your diet, as around 20% of your fluid intake comes from the food you eat3. As they are more filling, eating foods with high water content can prevent you from wanting to snack between meals4. Another top tip is to drink a glass of water as a first resort when you feel hungry, as your body often confuses thirst for hunger5. To find out more about eating a healthy diet which suits your needs and requirements book a dietary consultation with one of our specialists.
2. It energises your muscles
Having the right balance of water and electrolytes in your muscles helps them to perform at their best. That’s why it’s important to drink lots of water before doing exercise in the heat and to keep your fluid intake high during and after your workout. Drinking water regularly helps to replace what you lose through sweating and a sports drink can be particularly effective at replacing lost electrolytes6.
3. It makes your skin look great
Dehydrated skin is more likely to appear dry and wrinkled and you can combat this by upping your fluid intake6. Give your skin an extra boost by using moisturising lotion to lock in your skin’s natural moisture, and protect your skin from the summer sun by using a lotion with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. It’s important to remember, however, that water is not a miracle beauty product and over-hydrating can’t get rid of wrinkles and fine lines completely6. Find out more about improving the condition of your skin with a dermatology consultation.
4. It gives your kidneys a helping hand
Your kidneys purify your blood and remove waste products from your body by passing them into your urine. As long as you are fully hydrated, your kidneys are highly effective at removing toxins such as nitrogen from your body. You’ll know if you’re drinking enough water because your urine will be light in colour and won’t smell. If you are dehydrated for a long period of time you are more susceptible to issues such as kidney stones, and this is far more likely to occur in the warm summer months7.
5. It helps your bowels function smoothly
Drinking enough water helps your digestive system work properly, and when you are dehydrated it can cause uncomfortable issues such as constipation. The perfect combination is eating lots of fibre and drinking lots of water – together they are the best way to keep your bowels happy7.
So as the weather warms up, make sure you’re eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and drinking plenty of water. Aim for 2L if you’re a woman and 2.5L if you’re a man, which is around 6-8 large glasses.
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