Every organ in the body requires fluids to function. Nutrients are transported to cells in fluids, they flush away waste and prevent constipation. Another big benefit of staying hydrated is that your mind will feel sharper, your energy levels will increase and – here’s the big one – drinking plenty of fluids will prevent you from overeating! As your body can’t store fluids for long periods of time, regular hydration is essential.
The amount of water we should drink is individual and can range from 1.5 to 3L a day depending on your body mass, the amount you perspire and how much you exercise. For example, if you’re petite and don’t sweat much, 1.5L may be fine but if you are 6 ft 4ins, exercise for 1 hour and sweat a lot, 3L is more appropriate. A good indicator of whether you’re drinking enough is the colour of your urine, it should be clear over the day and not too dark first thing in the morning. If you wake in the middle of the night and are thirsty, start tracking your water intake to see how many millilitres you’re drinking over the day. Teas and coffees count towards your total fluid intake, but make sure that the majority of your daily fluid intake comes from drinking water.
During the summer months, we tend to drink more to compensate for our bodies losing water in the heat. Timing of when and how much water to drink is important: you don’t want to drink large volumes (say more than 1 pint) at once and, if you aren’t used to drinking much water, increase the amount you drink gradually over several days. I recommend drinking a large glass on waking and before meals to stimulate your digestion but avoid gulping large amounts with food and drinking too much in the evening before bed so as not to disrupt your sleep.
Getting your water intake right is a balance. Begin by tracking your daily intake and paying attention to your urine. Overall, trust your judgement to know what you feel is right for you and, if you feel you need individual advice, speak with a health professional.
Give your water the wow factor…
FLAVOURED ICE CUBES
Mint or borage ice cubes can transform a simple jug of water from functional to fabulous. Place borage flowers or chopped mint leaves in an ice cube tray, cover with water and freeze. Add to sparkling or still water moments before serving.
Nutrient-rich cucumbers are made up mostly of water but they are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, making cucumber-infused, filtered tap water a deliciously refreshing way to rehydrate on a summer’s day. Slice a peeled cucumber into a 1 litre jug, top up with ¾ litre of filtered water, topped up with ice to stop the slices floating, and marinate for an hour in the fridge. Try adding freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice for a bit of extra zing.