For thousands of years, numerous emperors of China sought an elixir of life. Qin Shi Huang, the first man to unify part of the mainland, died after drinking a potion concocted for him in the hope of achieving the eternal. A drink laced with mercury was not, it turned out, conducive to his aims.
Why he searched for that option to begin with would suggest a fear of mortality. Growing old, feeling weaker and wearier by the day. That knee injury returning to haunt you, or an ever painful back, perhaps you also sometimes long for a similar ‘be all end all’ solution to make you feel younger again.
The answer has been on tap this whole time. There’s a reason your Personal Trainer always carries around that water bottle with them.
1) Lower your stress levels
About 75% of your brain tissue is water. If you’re dehydrated, it is almost certain your body and mind will soon show this. Dehydration leads to higher cortisol levels, which ultimately makes it harder to deal with everyday issues. Overexposure to this stress hormone also causes trouble with the body’s natural processes. You may feel more anxious and find it tougher to sleep.
2) Lubricate the joints
The reason we always warm up before working out is to get the body ready for exercise. Gradually moving your limbs faster and under more strain allows the body to lubricate joints with Synovial fluid. This fluid is primarily made up of water. It reduces friction between joints and helps maintain healthy tissue. It also reduces cramping and will allow you to work out for harder and longer. Fewer aches, fewer pains.
3) Moisturise your skin
Are those crow’s feet beginning to show? At Nutrition Kitchen we’ve always considered them a sign of wisdom but if, for whatever reason, you would still like to stave them off naturally, look no further than water. Hydrated skin wrinkles less and looks more radiant and healthy. By also flushing out impurities in the bloodstream, water improves circulation and blood flow, helping your skin truly glow.
4) Satiate your hunger
It seems a fact almost too good to be true, but one way to trick your body into thinking it’s already full - thereby staving off cravings - is to drink a large glass of water with each meal. By doing this, you increase the volume of the food in your belly and stretch the stomach lining, stimulating a sense of fullness. This can also be done without eating at the same time but, be warned, you may feel the call of nature a bit more often!
5) Boost your energy
Have you ever wondered why you want an afternoon nap? Yes, a shortage of sleep would explain it, but a lack of water also contributes to this feeling of languor. The reason is that the right amount of water helps your heart pump blood more effectively. Without sufficient liquidity within the bloodstream, it is much harder for oxygen and other essential nutrients to reach your cells, including the brain's. As a result, you feel drowsy and less alert.
You may not be able to live forever, but you can certainly help your body feel younger and more flexible. Ultimately, you should aim to drink at least 2 litres of the stuff every day, and for that reason it is advisable to carry around a refillable bottle. Not only will it save a tonne of plastic compared to single use bottles, but you’ll consistently be reminded to drink some. You’ll feel younger, more energised, and your face will glow with the radiance of time. If only Qin Shi Huang had known.