The Importance of Water and 4 Signs That You’re Not Drinking Enough
If you want to live a long and healthy life, you need to maintain critical bodily fluids by drinking water on a regular basis. Not only does dehydration impact physical and mental performance, but it can also increase the risk of kidney stones, heart problems, and some forms of cancer.
According to Australian health guidelines, the following drinking levels are recommended. One cup is 250 ml.
- Adult men – 10 cups
- Adult women – 8 cups
- Teenagers – 6-8 cups
- Children – 4-6 cups
- Babies – 0.7-0.8 litres of breast milk or formula
While there are many ways to boost your fluids, water is the best way to stay hydrated. Caffeinated or sugary drinks might taste refreshing and quench your thirst momentarily, but they can make you more dehydrated in the long run.
The following lifestyle factors can also influence your hydration levels:
- Your environment, including temperature, humidity and altitude.
- Your diet, including your intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
- How active you are, with more movement leading to increased water loss.
- Your health, including infections, diseases and medications.
- Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Four common signs that you’re not drinking enough water
Not drinking enough water can lead to a range of physical and mental problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to hydrate immediately.
1. Dark urine
When you go to the toilet, it is important to review the colour of your urine. Dark urine is normally a sign that you are not drinking enough water. Ideally, your urine should fall somewhere between completely clear and the colour of light straw or honey. If it is darker for any reason, you may be dehydrated.
2. Dry mouth
Drinking water is essential for oral health, and dryness normally means you are not drinking enough. A dry mouth occurs when there is not enough water in your body to produce saliva, which can result in tooth decay and cavities. This results in dehydration, and most of the time, it is easily fixed by drinking a glass of water.
3. Physical or mental fatigue
Water is needed for a wide range of physical and mental functions. From regulating body temperature and absorbing nutrients to producing hormones and the body’s chemical messengers, it has to do a variety of roles. Lack of water can be felt in many ways, including reduced motivation, increased fatigue, and decreased physical and mental performance.
Dehydration is known to trigger headaches and migraines in some people, and drinking water has also been shown to relieve headaches in many situations. If you get headaches for any reason, not drinking enough water is likely to increase the onset or frequency of your symptoms. Fluid loss in the brain can also lead to impaired mood and concentration, so it pays to keep your water levels up.
The benefits of hydration are clear, so it’s important to review your intake and recognise the warning signs before problems develop. Try this quick & delicious drink to get more water in your day.