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Our body is made up of about 60%—or two-thirds—water. That is why hydration is vital.

Water helps the body in the following ways:

  • digestion

  • absorption

  • circulation

  • creation of saliva

  • joint lubrication

  • transport of nutrients

  • shock absorber for the brain

  • flushing waste mainly through urination

  • maintenance of body temperature

We need water to survive. Generally, women need 2.2 litres per day, and some of this water comes from food.

If we do not drink enough water, we become dehydrated. And while many who aren't drinking enough water and fluids and are aware of this, they are not aware of the consequences.

Did you know that when your body is dehydrated, your brain can actually shrink? Dehydration can also cause:

  • mood swings

  • dry skin

  • muscle cramps

  • lower cognitive function

  • headaches

  • constipation

  • fatigue

You may even think you are hungry when you are actually thirsty. Many people misinterpret thirst for hunger. If you feel peckish even after a meal or snack, you might need to have a glass of water.

If you have headaches, low energy levels, dry skin, constipation, and tummy aches, check your water consumption.

If you feel tired and sluggish in the afternoon, it could simply be that you are slightly dehydrated.

Food cravings, particularly for sweets, can also be a sign of dehydration. It's common to want sweet stuff because the liver could be having trouble breaking down glycogen into glucose from the bloodstream.

While upping their fluid intake means more trips to the toilet, it also means that you are clearing your body of toxins and keeping your organs working at prime hydration capacity. When you are drinking enough, the colour of your urine should be the colour of light straw.

Here are some tips to increase water consumption:

  • Herbal teas are an excellent way to hydrate if you are bored with drinking water. As a bonus, many herbal teas also have health benefits.

  • Infuse filtered water with lemon, ginger, mint, or cucumber for a refreshing drink.

  • Have a reusable 500ml PABA-free bottle at your desk or car. Aim to drink it in the morning and fill it again in the afternoon. That’s one litre done!

  • Drink a glass of water before each meal. It helps reduce the number of calories consumed if you are trying to lose weight.

  • Avoid drinking too much water during a meal as this may dilute digestive enzymes and impede efficient digestion.

  • Have some water or herbal tea if you feel peckish mid-morning or afternoon to avoid reaching for snacks.

  • If you're at a desk all day, get up every hour and have a drink.

  • Drink 1-2 glasses of water upon waking. Warm lemon water with ginger will wake up your metabolism and get you set for the day.

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