1. Helps shed excess pounds Drinking water can help you lose weight. Dr Chidi says: “Firstly, it quenches the thirst that’s often confused with hunger, plus filling the stomach with water also stretches it, which send messages to the brain to say that you’re full, switching off hunger signals.” It can also help speed up our metabolism to burn more calories. “If you drink ice cold water, the body has to raise the temperature of the water to body temperature, which requires energy. So just drinking two litres of chilled water per day will mean you lose 1-2kg of fat over the course of a year,” Dr Chidi adds.
2. Lower blood pressure One of the easiest ways to lower your blood pressure is to drink more water. “Imagine trying to swim in pool of honey – it would be very difficult and you’d need a lot of force to move forward,” says Dr Chidi. “A similar thing happens with our blood when we’re dehydrated – it becomes less diluted and thicker, which means more force is needed to pump it around the body so our blood pressure rises.” Drinking more water, means more dilute blood and lower BP.
3. • Improved digestion “The most common cause of constipation is not drinking enough fluid,” says Dr Chidi, “which can lead to other problems such as hiatus hernias, varicose veins and haemorrhoids.”Water is vital for good digestion because it helps dissolve waste particles so they pass easily through the digestive system. If you’re dehydrated, your body absorbs all the available water from your gut, making bowel movements dry, hard and difficult to pass.
4. • Healthier kidneys Water is the ultimate detoxifying liquid, removing waste products from your body via the kidneys. Dr Chidi says: “The best way to keep the kidneys functioning well and avoid kidney stones is to keep your urine clear by drinking enough water.”
5. • Better concentration If you consider that the human brain is about 85% water, it makes sense that when you’re not properly hydrated the side effects can be felt there first, such as difficulty concentrating and reduced short-term memory. One study found that children who drink a glass of water before an exam can improve their results by up to a third, while research in 2012 suggested that even being slightly dehydrated was enough to cause moodiness, problems focusing and fatigue.
6. • Fewer headaches “Mild dehydration is a very common cause of headaches,” says Dr Chidi. “So next time you have one, you might be better off leaving the painkillers in the packet and just drinking a glass or two of water.” Scientists at the University of Maastricht found that drinking around seven glasses a day was enough to ease pain in patients who suffer headaches.
7. • Boosted energy If you’re feeling drained, drinking more water can give you a real pick-me-up, as dehydration makes it harder for the blood to transport oxygen and other nutrients around the body. So skip the coffee or energy drink and sip some good old H20.