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Drink more water to boost your metabolism, Scottish scientist says

Staying hydrated ensures our bodies work properly.

We all know that it’s important for us to drink enough water each day.

But many of us don’t achieve the recommended daily target, or know why it’s so essential for our health. 

This week, as part of our Wellbeing Wednesday series, we’re talking to Dr Sarah Cottin, a lecturer in nutritional sciences about why it’s important to stay hydrated.

She talks to us about the role of water in our bodies, whether it can help with weight loss and why it’s important to make sure our children and elderly relatives also drink enough each day.

Why is water important for our bodies?

Dr Cottin explains that water is essential for many biological functions.

It helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to our organs and lowers the risk of high blood pressure.

Staying hydrated also aids digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

“It is essential for the life of every organism and makes up about 60% of our bodies,” Dr Cottin says.

“We can survive a few weeks without food but we can’t survive without water after only a few days.”

Reasons to drink more water.

How can we tell if we’re dehydrated?

Thirst is usually the first thing you’ll notice when you’re dehydrated. But Dr Cottin also recommends checking your urine to see if it is darker than normal.

If you’re going to the bathroom less often you might also need to drink more.

And you could also feel a bit dizzy or light-headed and feel tired.

Dr Cottin said: “Children may forget to drink water and not realise they’re thirsty so it’s important to check – and this is also the case for older people.”

It’s important to help children drink enough water each day.

Can water help with weight loss?

There is some evidence that drinking water can help with weight loss, but this is mostly when it is associated with dieting.

Drinking more fluids before a meal, or during, can help you feel fuller but Dr Cottin says it can also boost your metabolism as well.

It’s important for so many body functions that the more hydrated you are, the better your body will work, and this could include how you burn fat.

Why do we get tired if we don’t drink enough?

The British Nutrition Foundation recommends that we drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.

If we don’t drink enough we can start to suffer from fatigue and this is because of all the roles water has to make our bodies run efficiently.

One of its most important functions is delivering oxygen and nutrients to the right place in our bodies.

“Your heart is also going to need to work much harder to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your organs if you don’t have enough water in your body because your blood volume is smaller,” Dr Cottin, of Abertay University, said.

Dr Sarah Cottin says drinking water helps boost our metabolism.

What if we’re not keen on the taste of water?

There are plenty of other drinks we can enjoy to make sure we’re drinking enough fluids.

We can try fruit juice, squash, smoothies, or even drink tea and coffee in moderation.

Although Dr Cottin warns that we should make sure we’re not having too many sugary drinks.

“I would try to keep it varied, but still drink plain water,” she recommends.

“If you find water a bit too boring you can always add a slice of cucumber, mint or lemon to make it a bit more interesting and then you’ll still keep your water intake up.”

More health news…

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How blackcurrants can help when you feel stiff and sore after a workout

Gynaecologist’s tips for boosting your bone health during menopause

Baby loss: Aberdeen charities remind parents they are not alone 

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