Many people are living in a state of perpetual dehydration and are, without realising it, putting their health at risk.  Water does much more than just keep us alive, however many are still getting most of their fluid intake from soft drinks, coffee and alcohol.

By drinking liquids other than water, the concentration level of minerals and glucose in the body changes.  This means that the body needs more fluid to cope.  Coffee, some soft drinks, and many energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine, which further depletes the body’s fluid levels via a diuretic action.

Drinking two litres of water per day is recommended, and can improve health and wellbeing in many ways.  It can reduce the visible signs of ageing, improve concentration, help in weight loss, and improve energy levels.

Losing Weight:
Water suppresses the appetite and helps improve metabolism, thus aiding weight loss. Each cell in the body needs water to function – when you are dehydrated the cells cannot work at full capacity and therefore metabolism is reduced.  Additionally, when dehydrated the liver has to increase its workload, neglecting one of its other main roles – converting fat stores to energy.

Preventing Colon Cancer
The risk of colon cancer can be halved in women who drink plenty of water (ie. More than 5 glasses per day).

Improves Skin
Water prevents the skin from sagging after weight loss, and keeps it clear, soft and healthy.  The signs of ageing arise from dehydration of the skin, and acne can also be associated with inadequate water intake.

Helps Arthritis
Water helps prevent the build-up of calcium around joints which can cause arthritic pain.

Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
Raising the amount of fluids excreted from the body ensures more bacteria is flushed out.

Improving Sporting Performance
Adequate water intake helps in recovery from exercise, and helps to increase energy levels due to proper functioning of cells.  Water intake must be increased to account for fluid losses during exercise.

By the time you are thirsty, you may already be dehydrated.  Water makes up at least half an adult’s body weight, so maintaining adequate levels is vital for survival.

Other more dangerous signs of dehydration include loss of appetite, dry mouth, reduction in urine, light headedness, sleepiness, nausea, headaches, loss of concentration, increase in pulse rate, or dizziness.

Eight glasses per day is ideal for the average person.  If you are aiming to lose weight, you should drink an extra glass for every 11kg of weight you are trying to lose.  Water consumption should also be increased if the weather is hot or if you are exercising.