By mass our cells consist of 65-90% water and our body uses around 1.5 liter of water per day just to function! Yet many of us don’t drink enough water to keep our body fully hydrated. Learn all you need to know about the benefits of drinking water and weight loss!
Why your body needs water
Your body requires water for the following reasons
- Replenish our cells
- Lubricate our joints
- Protect spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
- Regulate body temperature
- Help with digestion
- Flush out bacteria
- Water helps with weight loss
Benefits of drinking water and weight loss
Studies have shown that you can increase the amount of calories burned per hour with each 0.5l glass of water you drink!
Water also fills you up and you therefore eat less food per meal. In other words you eat less calories and therefore lose weight.
Another fact is that most people graze on snacks because they are thirsty and not hungry. So if you drink a glass of water instead of eating a high caloric snack you reduce the calorie consumption per day and lose weight!
Replacing sugary beverages like cola or sprite with water also immensely reduces the total sugar intake in a day. High sugar consumption is linked to obesity. More about causes of weight gain here!
How much water should you drink per day?
The general guideline for adults is to drink 3-4 liters of plain water per day. The amount is depending on your body mass (height and weight), activity levels as well as the outside temperatures of your environment. If you sit inside an airconditioned room and don’t move much you do not need to drink as much water as someone who is jogging outside in the sunshine.
Signs of dehydration and not enough water
An indicator of dehydration is the color of your urine. The darker the color of your urine the more dehydrated you are. So, you want to aim for a light-yellow color of your urine.
If we drink beverages that are dehydrating, such as coffee, the color of your urine is not reliable as you pass out more water. Other signs of dehydration are:
- Dizziness when getting up
- Digestive issues
- Not feeling hungry at all
- The feeling to graze on food all day (which also leads to weight gain)
Which beverages dehydrate you?
Dehydrating beverages are beverages that make your body pass out more water than you take in. Beverages that dehydrate you are coffee, black/green tea, caffeinated drinks such as coke and alcoholic beverages.
If you can’t or don’t want to stop drinking dehydrating beverages such as coffee ensure that you replenish the loss of water by adding more water into your diet. Short: drink an additional glass of water with each cup of coffee or glass of wine!
Water consumption and exercise
When you exercise you start sweating and with the sweat your body passes out water. Therefore, it is important to drink more water when you are exercising.
Planning to exercise for longer than an hour? Then drink at least additional 2 glasses of water the night before. This way your muscles are charged up and replenished. The general rule is to drink 500 ml to 1 liter of water during an hour of exercise and to keep drinking water after exercise has been completed.
Water and digestion in your body
Our body takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour to absorb the water we drink. When we eat and drink at the same time, our body thinks it is food and does not get absorbed as it should. It is recommended to drink 1-2 glasses of water an hour before you eat and a glass of water with your food. This way you ensure that the water gets absorbed properly.
Tips on how to drink more water
- Keep a bottle of water next to your bed so when you wake up the first thing you do is drink water
- Carry a small bottle of water with you in your backpack/handbag and keep taking sips all day
- Drink a glass of water with each coffee/tea/ glass of wine
- Drink a glass of water before your meal (also makes you fuller and you eat less food)
- Add fresh lemon slices or mint leaves into your water for added taste!
Take home message
For many people it is hard to drink plain water in general and it’s even harder to drink more than 2 liters per day! It may take conscious efforts for you to do so at the start- but if you drink more water each day it will soon turn into a habit and you will drink more water without even thinking about it! The added benefit you flush out bacteria, stay young and lose weight!