The short and simple answer is yes! But let us convince you why. Firstly the body is composed of about 70% water. It is essential for life. Humans can survive around 30-40 days without food, and many have survived longer. But without water it’s only about 3 days.
Brain function. The brain consists mostly of water and brain cells require water to function optimally. Dehydration will affect concentration, focus, mental alertness and memory. It is also a common cause of headaches.
Muscle and joint health. Water is actually a fuel for the body. Muscles are composed of over 75% water and require a lot of water to work. Inadequate water intake means that muscles cannot function well, which can affect performance and may also lead to cramping. Water also regulates body temperature when exercising so hydrating before, during and after exercise is essential. Water also forms the synovial fluid in joints which prevent friction and allows for them to remain flexible and for smooth movement.
Digestion and metabolism. Water is essential for digestion and metabolism. It is important for the body’s biochemistry, being involved in vital chemical reactions, digestive processes and forming the basis of saliva and other digestive juices which allow food to be properly broken down, absorbed and utilised.
Without water the body cannot eliminate waste products and toxins from cells and then from the body. Your kidneys are responsible for removing waste products from the body but need adequate amounts of water to do so. Without it toxin levels can increase and you can develop kidney stones. The large intestine also requires large amounts of water to keep functioning properly. Dehydration is a common cause of constipation, and can also lead to a toxic build up.
Weight loss. If you google the benefits of drinking water, the number one place is frequently weight loss. Apart from the points above water removes the by-products of fat and helps to suppress appetite. Hunger is often confused with thirst and by drinking water often the hungry feeling will pass.
Skin health. Water helps keep skin moisturised, clean, clear and soft, as well as maintain it’s fullness and elasticity. When skin dehydrates is becomes dryer and more prone to wrinkle appearance.
Immune health. Adequate water keeps the immune system healthy and lowers your risk of colds, flu and infections.
Cardiovascular health and blood pressure. Water is a component of blood so when you are properly hydrated blood flows easily in the vessels. Dehydration will cause the blood to thicken and the heart will have to work harder to pump the blood around the body, increasing blood pressure. This can lead to fatigue and may also increase the risk of blood clots.
How much water do you need? It is very much dependant on lifestyle, body size and caffeine intake. Women need on average about 2.2 litres of water a day and men about 3 litres. This is pure water, not juices, soft drinks, tea or coffee. If you do any strenuous exercise then you will need to consume more.
Water in coffee and tea does not count as the caffeine in these drinks act as a diuretic and will increase water loss. You would be best to drink an extra glass of water (on top of the daily recommended amount) for every caffeinated drink you consume.