Water Works

Drink 1.6 litres (women) to 2 litres (men) of water a day


Our bodies are 50-60% water. Water is the most essential of all nutrients. It plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure and body temperature. It is crucial for digestion and it cushions and lubricates the brain and joints.

Two to three litres of water are lost every day through breathing, urinating, defecating and perspiring. Naturally, the quantity of water loss will depend on temperature, humidity, clothing, exercise, etc. A water loss of more than 1% of our body weight is accompanied by a decrease in physical and mental performance. The signs of mild dehydration are: thirst, headache, weakness, dizziness and fatigue. Moderate dehydration leads to a dry mouth, decreased urination, sluggishness, a rapid heartbeat and a lack of skin elasticity.

Although our sensation of thirst usually keeps us normally hydrated, the declining ability to detect thirst with age makes dehydration more common in the elderly. I remember telling my grandfather that he needed to drink more and his response was that he didn’t like it because it made him have to get up…and walk to the toilet! The colour of our urine is one of the best indicators of hydration. Straw coloured urine is ideal. The darker the urine, the more we need to drink.

It is recommended that we take in 2 litres (women) to 2.5 litres (men) of water a day (80% of the replacement water comes from what we drink and the remaining 20% comes from our food). Obviously our intake should be increased if we exercise vigorously.

Most of the information used in this article came from the European Hydration Institute. They are truly a one stop shop on hydration…and they even have a tool that allows you to compare the colour of your urine! Just in case you were wondering…