It's very important to make sure we are drinking enough. Our bodies need water or other fluids to work properly.
Why it's importantWater makes up about two-thirds of our body weight. And it's important for this to be maintained because most of the chemical reactions that happen in our cells need water. We also need water for our blood to be able to carry nutrients around the body.
Losing waterAs your body works it produces waste products and some of these waste products are toxic. The body gets rid of these toxins through the kidneys in urine, and urine is mainly made up of water.
We also lose water through evaporation when we breathe and sweat. As the temperature rises and as we do more activity, this increases the amount of water the body loses.
To stay healthy, you need to replace the fluids you lose. And don't forget, if the weather is hot or you are exercising, you will be losing even more water.
How much water do we need?In climates such as the UK, we should drink approximately 1.2 litres (6 to 8 glasses) of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated. In hotter climates the body needs more than this. We also get some fluid from the food we eat.
Caffeine in drinksDrinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola, can act as mild diuretics, which means they make the body produce more urine.
This affects some people more than others, but it also depends on how much caffeine you drink and how often.
It's fine to drink these sorts of drinks, but we should also drink some fluids each day that don't contain caffeine.
Signs of dehydrationOne of the first signs of dehydration is feeling thirsty.
If you think you might not be getting enough fluids, check if you are showing any of these other common signs of dehydration:
- dark coloured urine and not passing much when you go to the toilet
- confusion and irritability
- lack of concentration