Water makes up approximately 60% of our body and as such is a vital nutrient (yes, it is a nutrient) for our health! It undertakes a number of important functions in our body including:
So how much do we need and where do we get it from? Can it be tap water, bottled water, mineral water, milk (both animal and plant based), fruit juice, coffee? Yes, yes, and yes! All of these are sources (some better than others) of water. A nutritionist’s preference is good old plain H2O. This can be filtered or not. Mineral water is also great – especially if you like your beverages with a bit of fizz. Mineral water also contains trace amounts of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. Food is also a source i.e. watermelon, cucumber, celery, tomato, pineapple etc.
You may have heard of needing to drink 8 standard glasses of water per day, well, this is not technically correct. We are all different and hence so are our needs. Our need for water depends on a number of factors, including our body weight, exercise levels and even where we live. If you are wanting to increase your water consumption, a good starting point is 30mls per one kilo of body weight. For example, if you weigh 60kg, your minimum water intake is 1.8 litres.
Another way of knowing if you are consuming enough water for hydration is to look at the colour of your urine. First thing in the morning urine tends to be a dark yellow (we dehydrate during the night), but as you start to consume water throughout the day, your urine colour changes. A colour of light/pale straw or clear indicates adequate hydration levels.
When starting to increase to your water intake, take it slowly. Too much too soon will make you feel bloated and heading to the bathroom too many times!