The Importance of Hydration

March 25, 2024

We have all been told the importance of keeping hydrated numerous times, by many people, throughout our lives- but has anyone looked into why that is the case? The effects that dehydration can have on our health and wellbeing, aside from the obvious of course. What better week to read into this than after Nutrition and Hydration week (11th – 17th March).  

The Biology Behind It 

Whilst learning Biology over our schooling years, it has been drilled into our heads that water is essential for life and plays a crucial role in our health and wellbeing. We were also taught that water makes up 60-70% of our body and is a vital component of our cells, tissues and organs. In fact, men are made up of 60% water, whereas women are made up of 55% water. The water in our bodies serves as a medium for many biochemical reactions, helps transport nutrients and oxygen, and aids in waste elimination. You can start seeing the bigger picture of just how important water is for our bodies internally.  

There are many physiological benefits of staying hydrated:  

  • Digestion: It aids digestion by helping our bodies break down food, helping make nutrients more readily available. As well as, allowing the gastrointestinal tract (large intestine) to function normally, preventing constipation and other digestive issues.  
  • Body temperature: Water helps dissipate heat through sweating, preventing overheating and ensuring optimal performance during exercise and hot conditions. 
  • Blood circulation: Hydration allows for proper blood volume to be maintained, which is essential for healthy circulation and therefore the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells.  
  • Elimination of waste: Water helps flush out toxins and waste products from the body through urine and sweat. It also aids kidney function and prevents the build-up of toxins in our body.  

Cognitive and Psychological Functions of Water  

There are many cognitive and psychological impacts of hydration too:  

  • Mood and memory: Dehydration can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability and a decreased mental clarity. Hence, drinking water supports brain function and helps you stay focused, alert, and able to retain more information.  
  • Stress and fatigue: Healthy brain function because of hydration also supports hormone balance and improves sleep quality, therefore, you should be less tired, irritable and stressed.  
  • Weight management: Water is vital for good metabolism and supports appetite regulation, as dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Human bodies can survive over a month without food but only 3-4 days without water.  

How To Stay Hydrated 

Recognising the signs of dehydration can help you take action to maintain hydration levels. Common symptoms of dehydration include dark urine, fatigue, dizziness, and dry skin.  

You can incorporate more water into your daily routine by:  

  • Carrying a reusable water bottle  
  • Setting reminders to drink water  
  • Flavouring water with fruit or herbs for added taste 
  • Eating water rich foods regularly.