Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Q: How do I boost my energy, reduce bloat and shed kilos without really doing anything?
A: Drink enough water.
Why should I care?
The body is around 60 to 70 % water. As we probably all realise, it's important to keep our body properly hydrated to ensure that we function at our best.
Water is essential to digest, absorb and use nutrients. You could have the perfect diet, but if you don't drink enough water you won't reap the full benefits. Water transports waste products out of our cells to be removed from our bodies, and keeps our kidneys and liver healthy to aid detoxification. Inadequate water intake can also diminish our physical and mental performance.
Most people don't drink enough water. Let's not split hairs here - coffee or tea contributes, but it isn't a substitute (particularly seeing as caffeine in coffee and green and black tea is a diuretic!)
How much do I need?
For adults, the estimated daily water requirement is about 2 - 2.5 litres. This is just a baseline to sustain normal day to day function. Obviously, individual water intake requirements will vary, and will even differ for each person from day to day.
As a general guide, you should drink at least 2 litres of plain water daily. The amount of water you need will depend on your body size, your diet and your physical activity levels. For me, about 2.5 litres a day is my baseline.
Water is essential to digest, absorb and use nutrients. You could have the perfect diet, but if you don't drink enough water you won't reap the full benefits.
Even if you are confident that you drink plenty of water, chances are you don't consume nearly as much as you think.
Think about your week. Did you have water on hand at least 80 % of the time? And if you did, did you actually drink it frequently? It can be very easy for a day to pass by and you realise you have had barely any water, particularly when you are busy, in conferences or out of the office. If you're like me, I need to have good habits in place to ensure that I consistently drink water each day, no matter how hectic or unpredictable my schedule.
Resetting your daily water intake
Step 1: Self-audit
Choose a glass or a drink bottle that you tend to use most days. Keep a note pad handy (paper or smart phone) and jot down the number of times you drink the entire glass / bottle of water in a normal day. Make sure that each time you re-fill it, you fill it to the top. At the end of the day, measure the volume of liquid that the glass / bottle holds. Then you will be able to do some basic math to tell how many litres of water you consumed. You can do this a few times on different days for a more accurate estimate.
The point is just to monitor your normal consumption, not to self-correct (don't be tempted to drink more than usual on the audit days!)
Once you have your baseline, then you can assess how you rate based on the daily water requirement.
Step 2: Adjust
Now you can tweak your current practices to move closer to your optimal water intake. The best way to do this is to make small adjustments that you can actually maintain. For example, you could aim to add another glass of water per day, first thing in the morning so you don't forget. Or, you might buy a 1 litre water pitcher for your desk, and aim to finish this once or twice a day.
Step 3: Earn bonus points
As part of my morning routine, I drink about 600 ml of water with freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice. I drink this slowly on an empty stomach while I prepare my breakfast. Lemons and limes are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, and can support digestive, liver and immune system function.
Take home message
Drinking enough water is fundamental to our health.
The baseline daily water requirement for adults is about 2 - 2.5 litres, but it varies from person to person.
First, self-audit your water intake.
Then, make adjustments based on the amount of water you usually drink.
Aim to drink plenty of water every day, spread across the day.
Drink one or two glasses of water first thing in the morning to rejuvenate your body and mind.