We all know that staying hydrated is good for us. Drinking water helps keep our energy levels up, it improves our cognitive function and is good for our digestion. Water is also a more sensible option than sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, all of which can negatively affect your sleep, make you feel jittery and are often calorific. There are some scientifically proven benefits of drinking water that you may not be aware of, so if you struggle to keep your water consumption at an optimum level for you, read on.
1. Water is a transportation vehicle
….and not in the commuting-to-work sense, but rather a means of transporting nutrients around the body. Our body is largely made up of water, and when we are dehydrated, our blood struggles to move essential nutrients and hormones around the body to where these are needed. Equally, our digestive system relies on water to help the body flush out toxins and waste products. If you struggle with constipation, or your urine is more yellow than a pale straw colour, chances are you need to increase your water intake to help relieve any digestive issues.
2. Water is a weight-loss warrior
When we are dehydrated, our body goes into survival mode and holds onto water for dear life, increasing fluid retention and therefore the weight on the scales and gives you that sluggish feeling. Keeping hydrated helps alleviate fluid retention and helps regulate your appetite. Drinking a glass of water before a meal helps with portion control, which is one of the factors we need to down-regulate for those wanting to lose weight.
3. Drinking water makes you clever
Well, sort of…Did you know that our brain is 75% water? So if you want to stay on top of your game mentally, quench that thirst! If you feel foggy or tired, perhaps your concentration is lagging behind, it’s likely it’s your brain telling you it needs water. Dehydration makes you zapped for energy, which negatively affects both physical and mental performance. On the contrary, staying hydrated allows you to think more clearly, keep your energy levels up and keep headaches at bay.
4. Hydration = happy hormones
Without water, our endocrine system - responsible for hormonal balance, don’t work properly. Reproductive hormones, primarily oestrogen and progesterone for women, needs to be in a finetuned equilibrium to keep a regular menstrual cycle, support pregnancy and allow for a well-balanced transition to post-menopause. For instance, excess oestrogen, particular in post-menopause, overweight women, can have a role to play in hormonally driven cancers, so we want to make sure excess oestrogen is removed from the body. The best means of doing so, is through regular bowel movements, which flushes out excess hormones before they get a chance to re-circulate and stay in your system. If you are planning pregnancy, staying hydrated is essential for good egg health and a good environment for little swimmers.
5. Chilled water for chilled nerves
We can’t speak about hormones without mentioning the big c word – cortisol, the stress hormone that encourages weight gain around the middle and negatively affects your sleep. When you are dehydrated and survival mode kicks in, your adrenal glands pumps adrenalin and cortisol into your system and your stress levels jumps through the roof. Stress is a contributing factor to irregular periods, fertility issues and menopausal issues and whilst you can’t control external stress factors, you CAN control your hydration levels and therefore signalling to your body that there is no need to produce excess stress hormones. Preparing a glass of water ca a moment of calm – drop a few ice cubes in, perhaps a slice of lemon or lime and feel how refreshing it feels, whilst you picture a place you’d rather be. It’s surprising how little it takes to get a few minutes of calm and meditation in to your day!