Your body consists of lots of water, and many bodily functions depend on the fluid. How much you need, depends. For instance, if you exercise a lot or if you’re pregnant, you need to drink more. On average, it’s best to drink at least 1,5 to 2 liters a day.
If you don’t drink enough, your body has several ways of telling you so. Before you grab a painkiller when you feel a headache coming up, or before you think you’re having a snack attack: These signals suggest your body is simply longing for more water.
Obviously: If you’re thirsty, you need to drink water. However, the body doesn’t always tell you you’re thirsty. The frequency of your toilet visits is telling. On average, you should go 4 to 10 times a day. If you go less frequently, you don’t drink enough.
If you don’t drink enough, your brain isn’t able to function optimally. This makes it harder to focus. A dose of cafeïne may seem just what you need, but a simple glass of water is a better option.
Before you open the fridge for the 10th time today, just have a glass of water to find out if it’s really food you need. It might be thirst. Your brain isn’t always able to tell the difference, so it gives a hunger signal while all you need is some water.
If you often have a headache or even migraine, it might be a sign you’re not drinking enough water. Scientists aren’t sure what the connection between the two is, but for many people, headaches are less frequent when they start drinking more.
Sure, if you just had a pizza with extra garlic on it, it’s wise to chew on a leaf of mint to hide the intense smell. But if you’re having a bad breath for no reason, a lack of hydration may be the cause. The bacteria living in your mouth multiply more quickly in a dry environment. Having a few glasses of water helps to restore the natural balance of your saliva, which has an antibacterial effect.
Feeling listless? For almost every bodily function, water is needed. If you don’t drink enough, your energy level decreases.
Another ailment you can really, really do without: constipation. Water is like a lubricant for the bowels. If you hardly go for a number two – or you spend more time at the toilet than you’d like – drinking more water can really help.
Text: Sanne Eva Dijkstra