The Myth: Everybody Should Drink 8 Glasses of Water Per Day
Water is good for us. FACT. Why? The reasons may be a little unclear, so here's some insight into why we need drinking water to stay hydrated and healthy.
By Melanie Vella
Water is absolutely essential for the human body's survival - a person can live a month without food, but only a week without water, so get drinking!
There's no clear evidence that we need 8 glasses a day, though. The amount of water we do need depends on several factors like heat, how active we are, how much water is in the food we eat, and our medical conditions.
But, why can't we rely on the accurate mechanism called thirst to know when our body needs fluids? Well, by the time our brain registers thirst, our body has lost up to 1% of water, which could lead to dehydration. Dehydration triggers headaches, muscle weakness, trouble focusing on the computer screen or paper, and is the primary cause of daytime fatigue.
Looking for a good reason to pick water over a soft-drink? Drinking water regularly facilitates weight loss because it is a zero-calorie, zero-carb, zero-sugar substitute to high-calorie sugary drinks, like soft-drinks and coffee. Many times your body needs replenishment, which you interpret as hunger – but actually all you need is to fill up on water. Water also cleanses the body from toxins, clears up your skin, and lowers the risk of heart attacks. More reasons? Drinking water also eliminates constipation and improves concentration.
Forming the habit of drinking water isn't too hard. Try to focus on it for a month and it can become part of your daily routine. Simple enough? Here's a few tips to get the water flowing:
1. Carry a bottle: at home, in the office, in the car. If it’s close by, you're more likely to drink it.
2. Set a reminder: Set your watch or mobile to remind you to drink a glass of water every hour. This will get you into a routine.
3. Keep water cold: This may be harder in the wintery months, but we're not saying ice cold. Cool water tastes better.
4. Add natural flavours: Squeeze lemons, limes, watermelon or add cucumber or mint to your water. A splash of these refreshingly tasty treats are a cheap way to tame your tastebuds if you're used to artificially flavoured drinks.
5. Finally, try filtered water: Investing in a filter for your home is a cheaper alternative to bottled water, and you can avoid the toxins that get into the water from plastic bottles. (You'd be helping your bank account and the environment).
Do you automatically reach for the water bottle or the soft drink? Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day? Can you suggest any more tips to encourage us to drink more water? We’d love to hear them!