One nutrient you’re probably not getting enough of
Posted on September 24 2019
Do you get to the end of the day and realise you’ve hardly drunk a thing? You’re not alone. As a dietitian, I often see people who have a little (actually, a lot) of work to do when it comes to getting enough H2O. But why is water so important? And how much do you *actually* need to drink? Here’s what you need to know.
The low-down on water
Water is known as an essential nutrient. Why? Because your body cannot physically produce enough of it, so you must consume it. After all, your body is made of up to 80 per cent water!
Within the body, water is required for a range of functions: anything and everything from digestion to getting rid of waste products. It plays a key role in the structure of your cells, keeps your body’s temperature under control and even cushions joints. Plus, drinking enough is important for keeping your skin hydrated, and can even prevent constipation. Convinced yet?
How much is enough
For women, your daily recommended intake of fluid is about 2.1 litres. For men, that quota is bumped up to 2.6 litres. The good news is that doesn’t just have to be water. All fluids and some foods count, too. Nonetheless, water should always be your drink of choice – not only is it kilojoule free, but when it’s from the tap, it contains fluoride which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
And what happens if you don’t have enough fluid each day? Hello dehydration. FYI, that’s far more than just being thirsty. Feeling weak, tired and suffering from headaches is a common symptom, and your mental performance could take a downturn, too. Over time, being chronically dehydrated is linked to increased risk of kidney stones, urinary tract infections and even certain cancers. Yes, it’s pretty serious...
Creative ways with water
On the plus side, it’s super easy to get enough of this liquid gold. To give you a helping hand, here’s my top ten suggestions:
- Make a habit of drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up each day.
- Same goes for just before bed, too.
- Keep a glass of water on your desk while you’re working.
- Serve each meal with a glass of water. Yep – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- If you’re getting a little bored, spice up your glass of water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
- You could even get a little fancy with berries and herbs (raspberry and mint – delish!).
- Leaving the house? Have a glass of water, first.
- Just got home? You know the deal...
- Explore the tea aisle (like I said, hot drinks count, too, and tea is packed with extra health perks).
- Invest in a water bottle to keep you on track.
By Melissa Meier