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Many times over the years I have heard that drinking water is good for your health.  However, it wasn’t until recently that I realised just how beneficial such a simple change can be. 

It is recommended that adults drink approximately 8 glasses of water per day (the equivalent of almost 2 litres).   Making a habit of regularly drinking water is important, but sometimes we need a compelling reason to change. 

Here are a few that I could find:

Weight loss.  I’ve got your attention already haven’t I?  Firstly, water is an excellent appetite suppressant, so you are less likely to snack unnecessarily if you are drinking enough water.  On many occasions, when you think that you’re hungry, you’re probably feeling mildly dehydrated and thirsty.  Mild dehydration will also slow down your metabolism.  Obviously, drinking water instead of high-calorie drinks such as alcohol, fruit juice and soft drinks also makes a big difference in weight loss.

Heart Disease.  This point is at least partly related to the weight loss, but is generally considered that drinking an adequate amount of water can decrease your risk of a heart attack.  A six-year American study published in 2002 found that people who drank more than 5 glasses a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack that those who drank less than two glasses. 

Digestion:  An adequate supply of water is required to assist food digestion.  Water and fibre also combine well to assist in dealing with constipation.

Cancer Prevention.  Largely as a consequence of assisting digestion, drinking the recommended amount of water reduces the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%.  It is also attributed to a reduced risk of breast cancer by up to 79%.

Disease prevention.  Drinking sufficient water assists the body in flushing out harmful toxins and bacteria, reducing the risk of disease and infections.

Concentration.  Our brain is mostly water, so even mild dehydration will impact your concentration levels.  Drinking inadequate amounts of water will lead to dizziness, loss of focus and fatigue, so a couple of glasses after lunch will assist you in getting through the late afternoon fuzzies.

Headaches.  One of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration, so drinking more water may be of assistance if you have a headache. 

All of these reasons are compelling, but it can be hard to incorporate drinking 8 glasses of water into our daily routines.  A helpful tip would be to use your diary and write down every time you drink another glass, ensuring that you spread this across the day, with four glasses in the morning and four in the afternoon.  Doing this for a few weeks will help you to establish this as a habit.  You don’t have to drink bottled water either.  In most developed countries, drinking tap water will provide the same benefits.

If you’re a parent, I would also encourage you to think about what your kids are drinking.  Being a good role-model and making sure that your children drink plenty of water (not fruit juice or soft drink) can help them concentrate better at school and assist them with childhood obesity and other potential health problems.

I’m not a health expert, but I’m comfortable with the premise that drinking sufficient water has the potential to assist us all. 

Are there any other benefits to drinking water or tips for drinking more water during the day that you can think of?

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