Water is the largest single component of the body. The muscle tissues have the highest concentrations and bone the lowest. As a percentage of body weight, water varies amongst individuals depending on the proportion of muscle to fat tissue. Interestingly, water comprises of 60 – 70% of total body weight in lean people, and 45 – 45% in the obese adult.
We lose litres of water daily – approximately 1.5 liters of water is lost on a daily basis through the skin, lungs, and gut and via the kidneys as urine. This mechanism is important in order to ensure that toxic substances are eliminated from the body. Water is the solvent in which many solutes available for cell function are dissolved and is the medium for all reactions. Every chemical, biochemical and metabolic reaction that takes place in the body requires water to be present. This includes the reaction that oxidizes fat and burns it for energy. If there is insufficient hydration, fat oxidation will not occur and this will impair the ability to utilize fat as a fuel source.
Not drinking enough? Failure to consume sufficient water will initially present with a headache, feeling tired and less alert, decreased appetite, light-headedness thereafter cognitive and neurological impairment occurs. Severe dehydration can cause organ failure and eventually death.
Drink up to prevent fatigue and improve alertness and concentration. Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Here are some tips to help you get your water intake up:
- If you are not a fan of drinking plain water add some flavor. Try fresh cut cucumber, lavender with fresh limes or any fruit that you enjoy.
- Adding bubbles also seem to help increase water intake but be sure not to choose flavoured waters which have about 6 teaspoons of added sugar.
- Keep a water bottle on your desk and in the car to help meet your quota every day.
- Order a water in every meeting.
- Have a glass of water with every meal and when you wake up and go to sleep at night.
- Include herbal teas such as rooibos, mint or chamomile which will contribute to water intake.
- Sugar-free concentrates such as Brookes low-cal are a great way to make drinking water easier.