Is water good for you?

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Water is the most natural thing we can drink to help our bodies stay healthy. Or is it? As with most things there are mixed messages that water may not be as good for us or that drinking 2 litres a day has no scientific evidence backing it up. Googling ‘Is water good for you?’ will bring up five initial websites giving you between 6 and 34 reasons why water is great. The sixth website is the Daily Mail article from 2011 “…TOO MUCH WATER CAN BE BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH…” and goes on to say, “… a report describes the danger of dehydration as a ‘myth’…” Seriously.

When I worked in an office I had a 2 litre bottle I would fill up at the start of the day and make sure it was finished by the end. It was the only way I could make sure I was drinking when sometimes I didn’t get a chance to eat lunch or even leave my desk. Now I don’t work in an office, I find it harder to drink plenty of water every day and I have noticed I sometimes have really low energy levels and I get occasional aches in my joints.

The NHS says, “Most of the chemical reactions that happen in our cells need water in order to take place. We also need water so that our blood can carry nutrients around the body and get rid of waste.”

So if I’m not getting enough fluids into my body, my organs aren’t functioning at their best, nutrients can’t travel well and the toxins aren’t getting flushed out. Water makes up 70% of our muscle mass and 75% of our brains so muscle aches & cramps and fatigue could all be caused by a lack of water.

What fluids should you be drinking?

Some experts believe our body doesn’t differentiate between fluids so it could be a fruit juice, coffee or fizzy drink that we need. However, you do have to think about the additional sugar or caffeine and the effects these drinks could have on your body in other ways. Caffeinated drinks are diuretics so your kidneys process them almost as soon as they are in the bloodstream. This means they have no time to help the cells or transport nutrients. Artificially sweetened drinks trigger chemical reactions that need more fluids from the body to process and filter them. These drinks carry additional toxins that must be diluted in large quantities of water to be flushed from our bodies. They can actually work towards dehydrating rather then hydrating.

How much water do you need?

We need to be drinking water when we’re thirsty. This isn’t necessarily 2 litres a day. No one seems to agree on the exact amount we need. A common thought is that its better to try and drink more water than drink less. Low-grade dehydration is a chronic widespread condition caused by poor diet and bad drinking habits and can affect your energy, vitality, immunity and appearance. Michelle Obama spearheaded a project in America in 2012 to get people drinking one more glass of water a day. It was called Drink Up. However it was met with much criticism saying The White House had no scientific data to prove more water would, “make a real difference for your health, your energy, and the way you feel.” I have to agree with Mrs Obama. Surely drinking water can only be good for you.

According to the first 5 ‘Is water good for you’ websites I came across on Google, water can help:

  • Weight loss
  • Skin complexion
  • Digestion
  • Protect against cancers
  • Improve mood
  • Prevent headaches
  • Keep us alert & help think clearly
  • Relieve congestion
  • Boost immune system
  • Prevent cramps & pains
  • Save money

Basic needs

Water is one of our most basic needs alongside air, food and shelter. The UN declared it a human right in 2010. Every day nearly a billion people do not have the opportunity to turn on a tap when thirsty and around the world 200 million hours are spent collecting water from lakes, puddles, rivers and streams. For those of us fortunate enough to have it readily available every day please drink up and help keep your body functioning at its best.

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