Drinking only water and ditching other beverages for 31 days may sound daunting to some but Rebecca Gawthorne tells us why it's worth it!
Water makes up approximately 60% of the human body. It is critical to most physiological processes, including chemical reactions, transport of nutrients, and regulation of body temperature.
Adequate hydration can also improve our mood, cognitive function, skin health, heart health, joint health and overall wellbeing.
If you’re reading this, you probably have access to clean drinking water each day. The taps in your home; at public facilities close by; at your local shops. Clean drinking water isn’t even a concern to you.
But did you know that millions of people across the world sadly don’t have access to clean water that is essential for life?
- 785 million people in the world do not have clean water close to home.
- 2 billion people in the world do not have a decent toilet of their own.
- Approximately 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's over 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.
- And every minute a newborn baby dies from infection caused by a lack of clean water and an unclean environment.
These stats are horrifying, but you can help!
Every person needs a sustainable supply of clean water: for drinking, washing, cooking and cleaning. It’s a basic human right.
By taking WaterAid’s Water Challenge, you can raise vital funds to help people in need of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets.
Plus, by taking the Water Challenge and replacing sugary drinks and alcohol with water, your own health will benefit too.
Here are 7 ways that drinking water for one month can improve your health.
1. Water Supports Digestions
If you’ve ever experienced constipation, you’ll know that it’s no fun. But did you know that it might have been because you didn’t drink enough water? Water aids in the breakdown of food, which allows your body to absorb the nutrients. Additionally, water softens our stools and ensures waste can pass through the bowels easily. Inadequate water intake can lead to constipation, meaning you may experience cramping and difficulty passing stools.
2. Aids Weight Loss
Alcohol and sugary beverages are high in calories but provide us with few nutrients. As water contains 0 calories, it’s an excellent choice for weight loss. Did you know that replacing just one glass of wine with water saves you around 70 calories? Additionally, research suggests that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water before a meal can lower total energy intake by 7.8%. While this is partially due to consuming fewer calories from beverages, consuming water before a meal can also reduce our appetite, leading to reduced calorie intake.
3. Improves oral health
Most of us know that consuming too much sugar can increase our risk of dental caries. But the positive effects of replacing sugary drinks with water go beyond this. Many Australians get fluoride, through their tap water which helps to strengthen enamel and prevent tooth decay. Additionally, the saliva in our mouth is made mostly of water and is crucial for maintaining oral health. By drinking more water and less sugar-sweetened beverages, we can save ourselves those extra trips to the dentist.
4. Boosts Exercise Performance
Exercise causes us to lose water through sweat, which can be detrimental to performance if we do not replace these losses. Dehydration can cause increased core body temperature, reduced mental performance, slower movement, and reduced accuracy. The good news is that we can avoid these negative effects with adequate hydration. Replacing alcohol and sugary drinks with water will help keep you hydrated and boost your workouts.
5. Reduces the risk of chronic disease
Regular consumption of alcohol and sugar are a leading risk factors for chronic diseases, including some cancers, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In fact, alcohol has been shown to account for almost 10% of deaths worldwide among those aged 15-49 years. By replacing alcoholic beverages, fizzy drinks, and fruit juices with water, even just for one month, you can lower your risk of disease and premature death.
6. Improves Skin Health
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and it’s mostly made up of water. This water contributes to our skin’s elasticity, plumpness, and resiliency. If dehydrated, our skin can lose elasticity and become rough to touch. We can avoid these issues by ensuring we are well hydrated and in turn, our skin thickness, density, and hydration will be improved too. So drink that extra water this month and see your skin shine.
7. Enhances cognitive function
Have you ever struggled to concentrate or stay awake during a hot day at school or work? Evidence suggests that even being mildly dehydrated can alter important cognitive functions such as concentration, alertness, short-term memory, and mood. What’s more, reaching for the sugary drinks or the after-work beer may be causing further dehydration. Swap these for water and it’s guaranteed to improve your brainpower.