Did you know that every cell, tissue, and organ in our body requires water to function optimally, yet many South Africans, especially children, don’t consume enough water daily?
From regulating body temperature, aiding digestion, lubricating joints, and supporting cognitive function, let’s explore why hydration is a foundational pillar for overall well-being.
Water acts as a highway for nutrients. It aids in the digestion of food and ensures essential vitamins and minerals reach their destined locations.
Kidneys rely on adequate water to filter waste from the blood, which is then excreted through urine. Good hydration supports detoxification, ensuring our bodies remain free of harmful toxins.
Water helps maintain the body’s internal temperature through sweating and respiration, ensuring it doesn’t get too hot or cold.
Hydration ensures that synovial fluid keeps joints lubricated, reducing the risk of friction and associated discomfort.
Adequate hydration can lead to radiant, moisturised skin, while dehydration can make the skin appear dry and wrinkled.
Even mild dehydration can impact concentration, mood, and cognitive abilities. Regular water intake supports optimal brain function.
Prevention of UTIs:
Staying hydrated reduces the risk of urinary tract infections by ensuring regular urine flow and preventing bacteria buildup.
Digestion and Constipation Prevention:
Water aids digestion and prevents constipation by softening stools and ensuring smooth gastrointestinal function.
Understanding Your Water Needs
Drinking ‘eight glasses a day’ is a well-known mantra, but hydration needs vary based on age, activity level, climate, and health conditions. Affinity Health advocates for listening to one’s body cues, such as thirst and urine colour, to gauge hydration levels or to calculate your hydration needs according to your body weight.
“A person’s weight influences their hydration needs; generally, heavier individuals require more water,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
Using the ‘ water weight percentage guideline ‘ is an easy way to determine how much water your body needs. To figure out how much water to drink daily, multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.033 to get the amount in litres.
For instance, if you weigh 60kg, aim for 2 litres of water daily. For 90kg, it’s about 3 litres. Remember to drink more water when you’re active, in hot weather, or feeling sick.
How To Increase Your Daily Water Intake
If you struggle to stay hydrated, consider these helpful hints:
- Carry a water bottle throughout the day. Choose a refillable one to save money and fill it from the tap.
- Add a slice of lemon or lime for a flavour boost if you find plain water bland.
- Hydrate before, during, and after exercising.
- Drink water if you feel hungry, as we often mistake thirst for hunger. While water won’t quench hunger, hydrating can help manage weight by making you feel full.
- Set a drinking routine if you forget to hydrate. This could be during meals, bedtime, or on the hour every hour.