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Water benefits

Water benefits
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Staying hydrated is one of the healthiest habits you can adopt. Here are the ways your body and brain improve when you get enough water.

You’ll have more energy

You’ll have more energy
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The cells throughout your body need water to function. “Cells contain water and are surrounded by water,” says Ronald Navarro, MD, orthopaedic and sports medicine surgeon. “In dehydration, cell membranes become less permeable, hampering the flow of hormones and nutrients into the cell and preventing waste products that cause cell damage from flowing out.” When that’s happening, your energy is sapped and fatigue can take over, according to a review of hydration research published in the journal Nutrition Reviews.

How much water do you need to boost energy? Depending on who you ask, the exact amount varies. Dr Navarro points to the most agreed-upon recommendation of six to eight 250ml glasses of water daily. He points out that this can vary, though. “Some adults may need more or less, depending on their overall health, including if they have certain illnesses, take specific medications and more,” he explains. “It also depends on how much they exercise and the level of intensity, and how hot and dry the weather is.” If you’re interested to know how much water your body is hankering for, talk to your primary care doctor. But also keep in mind that too much fluid can lead to hyponatremia, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Here are some signs you’re drinking too much water.

Your memory may improve

Your memory may improve
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Your brain is hugely dependent on fluid to work properly – all those synapses and neurons need liquid to fire properly. According to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, dehydration affects your cognitive function and mood, and being severely dehydrated can affect your short-term memory. And yet, as many as 80 percent of Australians suffer from chronic dehydration. And that number worsens in summer: “We see the rate of dehydration increase in the summer and autumn, when temperatures are higher and perspiration is more pronounced,” he says.

If you’re concerned you’re among the dehydrated masses, here are the most common signs of dehydration.

Your focus may increase

Your focus may increase
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Ever feel like you have no control over your attention span? Your mind just wanders no matter how hard you try to focus on the task at hand? Drink a big glass of water and watch what happens: According to researchers from Georgia Tech, even mild dehydration affects your ability to focus and do your job. Just like sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and making time to sweat it out in your favourite workout class or log kms on your nearby running path, water is one of the most essential needs of your body. In fact, since we’re made up of so much water, it makes sense why we would constantly need it to replenish, cleanse and feed our system.

Here are 8 unexpected reasons you’re always thirsty.

You may be stronger and faster

You may be stronger and faster
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Ever feel sore during a workout, even though you didn’t exercise the day before? Those aches and pains, as well as the difficulty you experience when trying to lift a heavier weight or push through that extra kilometre, can be due to dehydration and not your lack of strength. Dr Navarro says that when we take in the right amount of water for our bodies, our muscles become more relaxed, which increases energy and maximises our performance.

All good reasons to adopt these tips for getting more water into your diet.

You may reduce mindless snacking

You may reduce mindless snacking
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Ever find yourself eyeing the ice cream in your fridge late at night or taking a sampling of your kid’s crackers, even though you know better? Instead of thinking you have hunger pains, reconsider that you’re simply thirsty. Dr Navarro says that, more often than not, people mistake hunger for thirst, and that if you downed some water instead of those junk foods, you would feel just as full. “Proper hydration can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss or weight management,” he notes.

Learn what your food cravings secretly reveal about your health. 

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Your digestion may become more reliable

Your digestion may become more reliable
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Though there’s no magical number of times you should move your bowels, it’s definitely true that your bowel movements can offer real insight into your health. And if you struggle with consistency and often feel bloated or uncomfortable, you probably need to chug that water bottle ASAP. “People who drink enough water usually have regular bowel movements. Hard bowel movements or constipation can be a sign that you aren’t getting enough water,” Dr Navarro says.

In the meantime, learn these 11 surprising home remedies for constipation relief.

Your skin may be more radiant

Your skin may be more radiant
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Ever go for a spa treatment – like a massage or facial – and your therapist makes a point to remind you to drink some water instead of the champagne you’re eyeing? That’s because skin can benefit greatly from hydration, and, for some, hydrating can clear up your skin or make it look younger. “Our skin, the largest organ in our bodies, relies on water to produce new cells and give us that glow,” Dr Navarro says. “Our skin also needs water do its job of regulating the body’s temperature.” When people who don’t normally drink much water added more H2O to their diet, the effects showed up on their skin, making it more elastic and moist. Again, though, it is possible you’re drinking too much water, too.

Here are more tricks for naturally glowing skin.

You may need fewer kilojoules

You may need fewer kilojoules
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A 2016 study involving more than 18,000 adults from the University of Illinois found that when people increased their daily water intake by one to three cups (on top of the four they drank on average), they ate less: Their food intake dropped by as much as 858 kilojoules a day.

According to Dennis Cardone, DO, chief of primary care sports medicine at NYU Langone Orthopedics, drinking water before – and during – a meal fills you up faster, displacing the desire and need for additional kilojoules. “Drinking water before and during a meal can decrease appetite and assist in weight loss,” he notes. Choosing foods with high water content will also help. Many fruits and vegetables have high water content, so they can provide additional mls of water without you having to drink anything. Dr Cardone recommends watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, grapes and cherries.

You’ll run cooler

You’ll run cooler
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“When we exercise, our bodies cool off by sweating,” says Dr Navarro. “As we perspire, we lose necessary body fluids. If we do not replace these fluids, we become dehydrated. This makes it difficult to sweat and cool down, which can result in a heat injury,” he explains.

Learn more easy ways to sweat less in summer.

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