Water: Why is it important?

Water makes up about two-thirds of our body weight. It's important for this to be maintained because most of the chemical reactions that happen in our cells need water to function properly; from helping the brain to work at its optimum, regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients around the body and flushing out the kidneys to rid the body of toxins.

Water is lost from the body through the lungs, the skin and kidneys.

To stay healthy, you need to replace the fluids you lose. If you don't consume enough, you may become dehydrated causing symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and loss of concentration.

How much should I be drinking?

Most experts agree that we should aim to drink 1.5 - 2 litres (about 6-8 250ml cups or glasses) a day. Children should drink approximately half this amount, depending on their age.

What should I be drinking?

Ideally it is best to drink either tap or bottled water. Drinks like squash, fruit juices, tea and coffee contribute to our daily requirements but should be drunk in moderation.

Top Tips

  • Drink a glass of water when you wake
  • Drink little and often throughout the day and not to wait until you feel thirsty. Drinking plenty of water can help to suppress your appetite
  • Get in tune with your body. If you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water first
  • Keep your consumption of alcohol in the recommended range and never drink alcohol to quench your thirst. Carry a bottle of water so you can have a drink whenever you want
  • Keep a jug of water on your desk at work
  • Check if you are dehydrated by the colour of your urine. Pale yellow is normal. If you're dehydrated, it will be much darker.
  • Drink plenty during and after exercise
  • As far as pure fruit juices go, while their water content is high, they also contain quite a lot of sugar. Stick to one glass a day
  • Get hydrated, but don't overdo it! This in itself can be harmful by diluting essential body salts in your blood, causing ‘water intoxication'

Reference: 1. Mori Poll conducted on behalf of Water UK, 2004