Water makes up more than 70% of the body’s tissues and plays a role in almost all body function from regulating temperature and cushioning joints to bringing oxygen to the cells and removing waste from the body.

On a daily basis, not getting enough water can cause tiredness, dry skin and headaches – creating physical stress in the body. The relationship between water and health is key, as severe dehydration can affect blood pressure, circulation, digestion and kidney function.

“Studies have shown that being just half a litre dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,” says Amanda Carlson, RD, a trainer of world-class athletes and director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance. “Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that.”

Hydration needs to be the primary focus of health. 

Research indicates that between 65-75% of people are typically dehydrated. This is in part because water, although essential, is often overlooked and also because the thirst mechanism can be suppressed or misinterpreted (often as hunger).

However, society continues to be slow to understand or act on this knowledge. This can mean that vulnerable people miss out on the guidance they need in order to maintain a healthy level of hydration.

How much water do you need to drink? Here’s a great article that tells you how to identify if you need to drink more water: How Do You Know if You’re Drinking Enough Water?