The Importance of Hydration:

The human body is made up of approximately two-thirds water.  The brain is 95% water and our blood is 82% water.  We are continually losing water through urine, through the skin as sweat and in our breath.  This water must be replaced and is done so principally through drinking fluids and from the food we eat. 

It is estimated that we should drink approximately 2 litres of water a day to stay hydrated, and slightly more in hot temperatures or if exercising.  However, it must also be noted that it is important to not drink too much water as this puts an extra strain on the kidneys and can cause over-hydration. 

Water is vital to the functioning of the body:

  • It acts as a delivery system, taking nutrients to cells and removing waste
  • It helps flush out toxins from the body
  • It forms the fluid that surrounds joints
  • It helps regulate body temperature e.g. through sweating
  • It softens food and dissolves certain components of food, vital for good digestion
  • It is essential for normal bowel movements, as water combines with fibre to form soft stools, preventing constipation
  • It is the base of many bodily fluids such as blood and saliva
  • It keeps our skin hydrated


If we don’t adequately hydrate our cells with water then they cannot function properly.  Dehydration can result from losing too much fluid through sweating, from not drinking enough fluids or through vomiting and diarrhoea.  A drop in our body’s water level can trigger symptoms of dehydration including:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of concentration
  • Light headedness or dizziness
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dry skin and lips


Furthermore, if the body is continually dehydrated there is a risk of more serious problems such as constipation, urinary tract infection and kidney stones.

The feeling of being thirsty is often mistaken for hunger, particularly as we get older as the thirst mechanism declines with age.  Therefore, it is important to make a conscious effort to drink the daily 2 litres of fluid.  Keeping a bottle of water on your desk at work, or filling a jug of water to drink during the day at home may help.

The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plain water, preferably filtered.  However other fluids such as diluted fruit juice, vegetable juices and herbal teas can be included for variety.