I’ve never been particularly fond of drinking water, but I never realized how much of an effect not drinking enough truly has on our bodies. Increasing your water intake is arguably the simplest way to improve your overall health and lifestyle, yet it’s something many of us can’t manage to do. If you’re anything like me, you probably only think of drinking water when there’s nothing else “better” to drink. Although all my life I’ve been hearing about the benefits of drinking more water, I must (embarrassingly) admit, I never took heed to the warnings until dehydration began to take a noticeable toll on my skin and hair.
If you didn’t know, the average adult human body is about 60 percent water. Skin alone contains 63 percent water. Water is required for our cells to transport nutrients and minerals throughout our bodies, and also to help eliminate wastes and toxins. When you don’t drink enough water, you become dehydrated. Dehydration prevents your body from eliminating toxins through your skin, which in turn makes your skin more susceptible to skin problems and disorders, such as dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, discoloration, and even premature wrinkling. Assuming these issues were caused by dehydration, they can be improved over time with proper hydration, according to WebMD.
Although there has been much debate about whether dehydration (or not drinking enough water) causes hair loss, there’s no doubt that adequate water intake is also needed for hair cells to transport nutrients and vitamins to the hair root. This process is responsible for keeping your hair hydrated from the inside out, which directly affects hair growth and retention. If you’ve been experiencing hair breakage and shedding, or you haven’t seen noticeable hair growth after several months, dehydration may be to blame. Because our bodies rely so heavily on water, vital parts like the brain, heart, kidneys, blood, and lungs receive water first, while the hair gets whatever is left over. If you’re not drinking much water, chances are, that’s little or nothing. Besides encouraging hair growth, proper hydration can also help with dry scalp, itching, and flaking.
Four Tips to Increase Your Water Intake
- Buy bottled water or a reusable water bottle. If you have an active lifestyle, or you just tend to be forgetful, carrying around bottled water will make it easier for you to remember to keep sipping throughout the day.
- Infuse your water. If you’re like me and you hate the taste of water, (don’t tell me it has no taste!!) add fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to your water instead of those “sugar-free” flavor packets/drops they sell at the store. You can fill a large pitcher with water and throw the ingredients in, or you can add them right to your water bottle or mason jar. There are so many great combinations of ingredients you can use for your fruit-infused water (Peach, Strawberry, and Raspberry; Watermelon and Mint; Orange, Lemon, and Cucumber; Honey Dew, Cantaloupe, and Watermelon; Blueberry, Kiwi, and Basil; Apple, Pineapple, and Mint). I recommend allowing the water to sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours to get the best taste.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Consuming healthy foods that contain mostly water will help you reach your daily intake goal without causing you to pack on the pounds. Try water-rich foods like spinach, watermelon, cucumbers, and celery. You can also drink beverages like milk and juice which have a high content of water.
- Download an app. If you’re not drinking water because you can’t remember to, consider downloading an app that will track your daily water intake and remind you to stay hydrated. Here are a few you can check out: “Hydro Drink Water” (iOS and Android), “Water Your Body” (Android), “Waterlogged” (iOS). Drink up!