Summer is here

Can I just say hallelujah! I have missed summer SO much. I love everything about it; long days at thee beach, barbeques, salty hair and G&Ts by the pool. But there’s one thing I’m really not good at in summer and that’s drinking enough water. I’m constantly refilling my kids’ water bottles but rarely think of myself (in more ways than one). I have to constantly remind myself of the benefits of keeping hydrated and what the positive effects water has on my body and my mood. Do you know the benefits?

What hydration can do for your body (and why it’s so important!)

We are all aware that we need to drink 8 glasses (around 2 litres) of water each day. We’re reminded almost daily, but how many of us are truly reaching that recommended water intake every single day?

If you find yourself, like the majority of people, not drinking enough water each day, it’s time to change your habits for the better. Hydration affects your body in so many ways beyond how thirsty you feel. Dehydration can influence the way each organ in the body functions, it can slow weight loss, be of detriment to the skin and negatively affect your mood and performance in the workplace.

To help motivate you to stay hydrated, we’re breaking down precisely what hydration can do for the body- and why it’s just so important!

Water influences every single part of your body

Before we touch on the more specific benefits of adequate hydration, it’s important to understand that water really does influence every single part of your body. We are made up of two thirds water, and that water affects 100 percent of our bodily functions. Each function and organ in our body affects the next, so we need to ensure they’re all running smoothly in order to be our healthiest selves. By depriving yourself of water, you’re depriving every single part of your body of what it needs in order to operate at its best.

Can hydration affect weight loss?

While healthy eating and exercise habits play the most important roles when it comes to weight loss, water can certainly assist. It seems a given, now that we know that water affects every bodily function, but hydration is particularly beneficial for the digestive system. Adequate daily water intake can work to prevent constipation and, in turn, the bloating that comes with it, as well as working to “flush” the system of waste and toxins. Without water, our body is unable to move and remove waste from the system and digest it properly, so we’re left to retain that waste for longer than we should.

Dehydration slows your metabolism, which makes it very difficult for your body to turn food into energy and burn it off. Studies have shown that drinking the advised amount of water can actually increase your metabolism by up to 30 percent, which means we can convert what we eat and drink into energy even quicker.

Hydration can also affect our weight based on our dietary choices. Studies have shown that people who drink water before a meal tend to eat less than those who are dehydrated, as water has the ability to make us feel fuller for longer. When we are dehydrated, we feel hungry. This leads to bingeing and, in turn, both weight gain and unhealthy eating habits.  

It can also help you get motivated for a workout- fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration, so hydration can give you that much-needed energy boost ahead of exercise.

What can hydration do for the skin?

Water also affects the mind in the way it regulates the brain function

Our skin is our largest organ so, naturally, it too needs hydration in order to function as its best.

As mentioned, water works to flush and remove toxins from the body. Toxins in the body can lead to inflammation and irritation of the skin, as well as an overall dullness and even flaking, so drinking 8 glasses of water a day can assist in delivering a clear, glowing complexion. Staying hydrated can also aid in combating the visible signs of ageing. How? Hydration improves the elasticity of the skin- something we naturally lose over time. Water can keep the face looking plump and youthful.

Can dehydration alter your mood?

Beyond the face and body, the amount of water you drink can really affect your mind. Dehydration can lower your mood and make you irritable, so on the flip side, adequate hydration can actually improve your state of mind. Headaches are a common side effect of dehydration, as the brain can actually shrink due to a lack of water, pulling away from the skull and triggering the pain receptors responsible for headaches and migraines.

Water also affects the mind in the way it regulates brain function. Staying hydrated ensures your brain, just like every other organ, functions as it should, so water can increase memory and your ability to stay focused as it helps to stimulate the flow of both blood and oxygen to the brain. Even a dehydration level as little as 1 percent of your body weight can reduce your cognitive function, resulting in lowered concentration, and inability to focus and negatively affecting your ability to learn and problem solve.

Lindy Sorensen