- Susannah Money-Schenk
Water Water Everywhere - So why don't you drink it??
Water. H2O. Aqua. Adam's Ale.
Whatever it is you want to call it, it is no secret that drinking water is good for you, but why??
Here are some fun facts I found on USGS.gov
Our body is composed of approximately 60% water - slightly less in women.
Our brains and hearts are made up of approx 75% water, lungs 85%, skin 64%, muscles 79% and even our bones are 31% water (HH Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158)
People with more fatty tissue have less water as a percentage than those with less fatty tissue.
The cells in our bodies are full of water.
The ability of water to dissolve substance ensures our cells get all the nutrients, minerals and chemicals needed to carry out vital bodily functions.
Water's surface tension allows us to transport these vital components all around our bodies.
Carbohydrates and proteins (the macro nutrients found in our food) are metabolised and transported by water so we can use them as fuel (carbs) and building blocks (protein) for our bodies.
So what other vital functions does water help us with?
It first functions as a building material forming our cells
It regulates internal body temperature through sweating and respiration
It flushes out waste mainly through urination
It acts as a shock absorber for our brain and spinal cord
It forms our intervertebral discs and keeps them healthy
So how much do we need to drink?
The daily recommended intake, as recommended by the NHS, is 6-8 glasses a day (1.2 litres). This is based on what we need to drink to stay hydrated based on our country's climate. I recommend 2 litres a day to my clients due to most of them being active individuals. We lose water when we sweat, exhale and of course when we pee. The more we sweat, the more we need to replenish our water supply so for those exercising it is really important to up water intake. A good measure of whether we are heading for dehydration or not is the colour of our urine. Nice and clear you are all good but if it resembling something the colour of strong tea then you need to up your intake!
To tap or not to tap?
So this is almost a discussion for a whole extra blog. Tap water has been found to contain multiple pollutants in some countries. According to water.org.uk our tap water in Britain is safe to drink and is intended for human consumption. WHO (World Health Organisation) monitors the amount of Chlorine used by water companies as a disinfectant to maintain hygienic water supplies to the public.
However other scientists and professionals have found over 300 chemicals in our tap water. Some come from the chemicals used to kill bacteria and other micro-organisms, but it has also been suggested that our water contains high levels of oestrogen, fluoride and chemicals found in our dishwasher tablets.
The oestrogen in our water is thought to be coming from the millions of women on the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy as it returns to our waterways. Its effect on male fertility is currently being researched but a link has been suggested.
Fluoride has actually be known to be added to some of our water supply and although it is meant to be good for our teeth it can play havoc with our thyroid gland. It can lead to hypothyroidism which can cause weight gain, depression, constipation and more.
All the above said I do personally still drink tap water. My main argument for this is that bottled watered can be just as if not more harmful due to what it is bottled in!
Say no to plastic!
No this isn't an eco post (although that part of no plastic bottles is very important). Some of you may have read my post on plastic bottle on Instagram. In a nutshell, it explains that chemicals in plastic leach into the liquid inside. They are known as Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) and can play havoc with our hormones. Disruption to these important body chemicals can interfere with:
Female and male reproduction
Breast tissue development
Thyroid function (sound familiar?)
Our nervous system
They can also lead to breast and prostate cancer amongst many other things! These problems are caused by xenoestrogens which mimic the hormone oestrogen (remember that hormone that can be found in our tap water?!). Most of you will have heard of BPA? BPA (Biphenol A) is one of these xenoestrogens that are found in plastic and although a lot of bottles are now BPA Free, the BPA has been replaced by BPS - another xenostrogen that has pretty much the same effects!
At home we have a Britta filter system and we drink out of metal bottles 90%. I do have plastic bottles still, BPA Free, which I use when training and I know the water isn't going to be sitting in them for long. I also do still use the tap when I need to. Most importantly I drink! I drink at least 2 litres of water a day - more if i'm training - and I'm currently drinking 4 litres per day as part of a challenge!
So I hope that this has given you some insight into how important it is for us to drink water as well as a little bit of info on how much to drink and how. So dust off your glasses! I challenge you to start increasing your intake. 6-8 glasses of water a day. If you already do this, aim for 2 litres!
It has to be water - that doesn't mean tea, coffee, squash, juice, wine....it means means water! Good luck!