Here are some health facts about water intake:
- Cognitive ability and mood is affected by a 1% drop in body water content. Yet you only feel thirsty with a 2% drop, by which time you are clinically dehydrated
- Australians only drink 1.29 L of water per day, well below the 2-2.5 L that is recommended. Up to 80% of adults suffer chronic, mild dehydration
- In school kids, dehydration can reduce performance in the classroom or sporting field by 5%. In adults, mild dehydration leads to increased errors and executive functions akin to being under the influence of alcohol
- Inadequate hydration during hot days can result in headaches, nausea and heat stress
- In seniors, studies have shown higher mortality rates with increasing dehydration
The current guidelines recommend 8 glasses of water per day for adults, more if unwell, exercising, pregnant, on hot days, travelling and for men, and less if elderly, sedentary, in cold environments or for women.
Water is so important for our health – our bodies are 75% water and water is required for all sorts of bodily functions, from aiding digestion, to regulating metabolism and temperature, to basic cellular regeneration, to eliminating waste products through our kidneys.
Some tips to drinking more water, or encouraging those around you to do so, include:
- Enjoy a variety of drinks, including coffee and tea which has antioxidants, polyphenols, caffeine and a range of health benefits
- Choose water over soft drinks, eating fruit pieces over fruit juice and low-fat milk over full-fat milk (for adults)
- Add lemon, lime, mint or strawberries to water for flavour
- Make ice cubes or icy poles with fruit pieces
- Enjoy sparkling water