Did you know roughly 60% of your body is made up of water? We all know water is essential to staying hydrated, but there are many benefits beyond this. From clearer skin to improved cell functioning, here are a few things you probably didn’t know about humble H2O:
1. A TEETH REPAIR KIT
90% of tap water in Australia has added fluoride. This mineral helps strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay, meaning fewer fillings and extractions. So drink up to keep you and your dentist smiling!
2. BANISH FATIGUE
Dehydration zaps your energy leading to poor physical and mental performance. Staying hydrated will not only help you feel refreshed and alert at work, it can also improve your performance in the gym. Athletes who maintain proper hydration before, during and after training are able to exercise longer, can regulate their body temperate better, and are at a lower risk of heat stroke when exercising in extreme temperatures. How much to drink per day depends on your activity levels, the environment and any medications you might be taking, so talk to your doctor or an accredited practising dietitian to get your needs assessed.
3. BOOST IMMUNE DEFENSE
Being dehydrated reduces the volume of water in your blood, which can hamper removal of waste from your body. Chronically dehydrated people tend to get sick more often and for longer periods of time. This is because the body is unable to eliminate nasty toxins making it more difficult for the immune system to beat that cold or flu. Take your doctor’s advice and drink plenty of fluids to help support your immune system and eliminate by-products of any illness.
4. ORGANIC WATER?
There’s no such thing! Each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms connected to an oxygen atom. For a substance to be organic (meaning that it’s living), it needs carbon. So, in fact, water is an inorganic substance.
5. THE BEST THIRST QUENCHER
For most people, water is the best option to quench your thirst and re-hydrate after light or moderate physical activity compared to sports drinks. This is because sports drinks are formulated for athletes who endure long and grueling workouts (greater than 90 minutes) and need the carbohydrates and electrolytes to replace fluids and salts lost in their sweat. However, for the average population they provide unnecessary amounts of sugar and energy, which can contribute to weight gain if consumed too frequently.
6. YOU CAN HAVE TOO MUCH
Water overload, or hyponatreamia, occurs when salt levels in the blood become diluted from too much fluid. This causes body cells to swell leading to seizures and brain damage. However, the amount needed to cause this is upwards of four litres or more a day! To avoid fluid overload, make sure to sip your fluids throughout the day instead of gulping them down all at once.
7. A NATURAL MOISTURISER
Prolonged dehydration can cause skin to wrinkle and become dry. Maintaining proper hydration improves blood supply to the skin meaning less cracking, and a more youthful, glowing complexion. Drink up to glow from the inside out!
Bottom line? Bottled or tap, still or sparkling, water keeps you functioning at your best. However, many of our favourite beverages, which also contain water including tea, coffee (and alcohol) have a diuretic effect, so can be mildly dehydrating. Be sure to balance out this effect by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and say cheers to your health!