Water is our lifeblood. For our bodies to function well we need water and we need plenty of it. We lose water every day every time we breathe, sweat, go to the bathroom and even blink. It is super important to at least replace what you’re losing, or you could become dehydrated.
Drink beyond what you need for daily function and you will start to notice improvements in your skin condition and digestion. Your joints will be lubricated, and your body will flush waste well. For these things to occur we need to be drinking 2 to 3 litres per day.
Being dehydrated can make you feel tired and affect your concentration levels and will reveal itself in the form of headaches and/or a dry mouth.
Constant dehydration can affect your health and wellbeing in other ways too.
Some signs include:
You are more likely to be dehydrated if you have diabetes, aren’t well, have spent a while out in the sun, got sweaty after working out or take diuretics that make you go to the bathroom more.
It is also important to consider the everyday diuretics you might including your diet without being aware of it. The more common two being alcohol and caffeine.
Dehydration can increase the amount of inflammation in your body. Inflammation is heavily linked to many illnesses, so it is something we should be doing the most we can to avoid! High blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, arthritis and even cancer are just a few of the health problems that can come from inflammation.
If you’re dehydrated, it’s far more difficult for your body to get rid of toxins and waste products. And if this is the case, it can affect how well your body can fight off infections and other illnesses. Higher levels of inflammation in your body can also have a negative effect on your immunity.
Experts also think that chronic dehydration can make your immune system more likely to turn on itself and attack healthy cells as well.This is a key factor in autoimmune conditions.
When waste products are not being effectively removed from the body, they can build up causing uraemia, an overload of toxic waste products.
Not drinking enough water can also activate a system designed to hold onto the water that is currently in your body. This tells your kidneys to produce less urine and also constricts capillaries in areas such as the brain and heart. This can cause kidney damage if it’s a chronic problem.
Not being properly hydrated can have an effect on your cardiovascular system too. In particular blood flow. Your blood pressure can drop, leaving you prone to feeling dizzy. As your body tries to raise it again, it can put a strain on your heart.
Lack of hydration can also encourage production of a chemical that encourages the blood vessels to be more constricted. This will also increase your blood pressure as your body will find it harder to pump blood. Again, your heart will be under more stress.
Headaches and concentration problems are some of the signs of mild dehydration but the effects on the brain can go far beyond this. Your brain needs a decent amount of water to keep it functioning at its best – even more so than the rest of your body. Therefore, even slight dehydration can have a big impact on your cognition and energy levels. It’s also been linked to depression.
Usually, you’ll lose a decent amount of water in your stool and this helps it to be passed more easily. If you’re not very hydrated, your body will try to hang onto more water and tries to extract water from digested food in your small intestine. The end result means that you are more likely to be dehydrated. Your stool will be harder and drier, which can be a lot more difficult to pass. Not a particularly pleasant situation at all.
Your joints need a certain amount of lubrication to stop them rubbing against each other and not drinking enough water can upset this delicate balance. If you’re well hydrated, any cartilage that does start to wear away will be replaced by new cartilage but if you’re dehydrated, this is can take a lot longer to happen. The nutrients that you need for repair and renewal find it much harder to get to their destination and joint problems can become a problem.
The upshot is staying well hydrated can help your immunity and digestion, and keep your heart, kidneys, joints and brain healthier. Have you had enough water today?