We are 60% water. Our brains 80%. Skin 70%. Blood 50%. Even our hardest bits like our bones are 25%. Not surprising then that water is so essential to human life. Water protects our tissues, lubricates our joints, supports effective brain function, regulates our temperature and helps remove all that nasty waste. Water makes us flow.
Without water, we dry up and shrink. Before you know it, constipation, stomach pains and cramps kick in. Our skin looks dry and ashen – its elasticity gone. Headaches take a hold. Our mouths and tongue wither and worryingly our ability to swallow and breathe falter. As a general rule of thumb, without water the human body shuts down in just 3 days.
"Thousands have lived without love, not one without water." W H Auden
The body needs lots of water. So too does the mind. Research shows that keeping yourself hydrated not only helps you feel healthier, but improves cognitive and psychological function. People who stay hydrated tend to feel calmer and more resilient to stress, whereas dehydration appears to increase the risk of anxiety and depression.
As a reminder, adults should consume about 2 litres of water a day, equivalent to 8 glasses. That figure includes teas and other non-alcoholic beverages. It sounds a lot and it takes an effort to achieve. Here are some simple tips for keeping hydrated::
Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up and are naturally thirsty
Have a glass of water with each and every meal
Keep a water bottle on your desk when you're at work
Drink plenty of water when you exercise
Make it less boring and add something to it like mint, lime, cucumber or rosemary
Check out one of the hydration apps that will keep you sipping
Buy a smart water bottle that tracks your hydration level and blinks at you if your not drinking enough
Eat water-rich vegetables like spinach, lettuce and celery. The same applies to fruit like watermelon and oranges
Try unsweetened plant-based milk. It's mainly water
Test out all the hundreds of different herbal teas.
Water is vital for a healthy mind and it plays an important role in keeping anxiety at bay. A natural "anxiety quencher" you might say.