Water is essential for life and your body needs water (and other fluids which can also be sourced from your food, for example cucumber, apples etc.). You cannot survive without water and it is vital for ensuring your body functions properly and does not become dehydrated.

Feeling wonderful about your body takes hard work.  And staying fit and healthy starts with what you eat and drink.  Ensuring you exercise regularly, sleep well, take care of your skin and make time to relax are all absolutely crucial.  However, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated are equally as important.

Dehydration is unpleasant and the effects can range from mild to severe.  From headaches, fatigue and a lack of energy to experiencing confusion / brain fog and light-headedness in more severe cases.  Another sign of dehydration is passing dark urine when you go to the toilet.  If your body continues to remain dehydrated over even just a short period of time, it means that it is not able to flush out toxins and waste as effectively as it should.  This can result in digestive problems, such as a flair of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms as well as skin problems, including acne, dermatitis and eczema.

So, how much water do you really need to drink for optimum health?

With reports which range from suggesting you should consume 1.5 litres of water every day all the way up to 2.5 litres daily, it is hard to know the correct amount to drink.  However, according to the NHS and also The European Food Safety Authority, “Women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid and men should drink about 2.0 litres of fluid per day”.

Naturally, your water consumption will depend on your lifestyle as well as the weather.  If you exercise regularly then it is important to drink more water to replace fluids lost through perspiration, especially if you take part in very active workouts, such as high intensity interval training or fitness classes.  Furthermore, if you are exercising during hot weather then you will be likely to perspire more, so it is important to adjust your fluid intake accordingly.  The same can be said for hot weather and holidays; it is important to increase your fluid intake to replace lost fluids.

You will lose fluid when you breathe, urinate and sweat, which means it is important to ensure that these lost fluids are replaced at regular intervals throughout the day.  Sipping water regularly is better for your body than consuming a large quantity in one go, so try to ensure you always have a bottle of water with you.

Most soft drinks can also count towards your daily water intake.  Of course, the best option is natural water (still or sparkling), but fruit juices (in moderation as they are full of sugars and calories), herbal teas, green tea and milk are all good options.  Tea, coffee, energy drinks, sports drinks, fizzy drinks and squash can actually be quite dehydrating – especially caffeinated drinks as they are often classed as diuretics.  And avoid alcohol as it is extremely dehydrating.