Just add water


It’s often the small changes that make a big difference to our health. Take water for instance. I’m convinced most of us are walking around dehydrated.

Dry as a chip. Certainly, we consume enough fluid for the basics, but making a conscious decision to increase water intake leads to improvements in all sorts of unexpected areas.

The brain, for example, is a very wet organ. There are studies that show the brains of some people with dementia are more dried out than normal brains. Anecdotally, I find many patients remark on feeling clearer in the mind, and emotionally brighter after upping their water intake. Constipation, bad skin and headaches are three ailments that often improve with the judicious addition of a litre or two of water.

Although tea, coffee and alcohol are wet, they act as diuretics; causing us to wee out more than we drink. So, for those whose sole water intake is contained in these beverages… feel guilty. Our body loses two to three litres of water daily, mostly in urine, but also in sweat, the breath and a little in poo. We need to replace this fluid loss every day. Just how much extra water we need, depends on a few of things. Exercise: American professional basketballers can lose 2 litres of water in sweat each game. Admittedly, we’re talking about large surface-area people, but even a short-arse like me can lose a litre during an aerobic class. Temperature: Obviously a hot day is going to cause more fluid loss. Environment: Airconditioning and airplanes are notorious for drying you out. Another factor is how wet or dry your diet is. Wet diets are full of fruits and vegetables, juices and soups; while dry ones focus on bread, biscuits and meat.

Usually I suggest drinking 2 litres of water daily. Rather than count the number of glasses, I recommend filling a 2 litre container with water and make sure that you finish it by the end of the day, preferably before before 6p.m, so you don’t disturb your beauty sleep. Another suggestion is to drink a litre before lunch-time. Tip number 75(b) is to drink a litre of water every time you exercise, and 500ml for every couple of hours in an aircraft. I recommend purified or spring water, but tap water is better than no water. Some people prefer their water warm or hot; others need to spice it up with a squeeze of lemon (not cordial). I guarantee, if you make this one small change, simply add more water, you will notice the difference.