Water is essential to our health and everyday well-being. We all know the effects of dehydration far too well: a slight headache, lethargy and tiredness, a general feeling of sluggishness and even difficulty in concentrating. Severe dehydration over time can exacerbate other issues including liver problems and a range of other maladies which can largely be avoided through good health practices and regular water intake. However, simply drinking gallons of water in one sitting can be harmful. The important thing is to ensure that you have a regular intake of water over time. Ideally, the source should be fresh, filtered and at a pleasant water cooler temperature. The ideal volume equates to around 1.5 litres, or eight cups a day. Remember, however, that if you're working in a physical role, exercising, or it is particularly hot outside, you'll need plenty more. Most of us can easily determine whether we are drinking enough water, both by a sense of wellbeing and by checking the colour of our urine. If it's a pale straw colour, you are adequately hydrated. If it appears dark, start drinking more water. One interesting fact, of particular importance to dieters, is that drinking cooler water at icy temperatures actually speeds up the metabolism and encourages it to work harder in order to warm it to your body temperature. Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger, so if you're turning to that mid-morning biscuit, consider whether you simply need to top up on your water levels instead. Remember that caffeine, due to its diuretic properties, further dehydrates you - so avoid excessive coffee or strong tea consumption. Opt instead for water, whether filtered from the mains or from a bottled water cooler system and enjoy it icy cold for that perfect clear, fresh taste. Alternatively, serve it with a slice of fresh lemon for a zesty twist, or experiment with herbal teas for added benefits.
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