Water, what makes it so beneficial? other drinks may be way more appealing, but nothing offers the same benefits to your body as good old water, and that’s a fact! And speaking of which, here are the facts.
The facts and benefits
Helps keep body fluids balanced – Did you know that your body weight is approximately 60 percent water? Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. The amount you need depends on a variety of factors, including the climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems.
Protects tissues, spinal cord, and joints – Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it also keeps the tissues in your body moist. You know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? Keeping your body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and the brain. In addition, it helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.
Helps your body remove waste – Adequate water intake enables your body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. The kidneys and liver use it to help flush out waste, as do your intestines. Water can also keep you from getting constipated by softening your stools and helping move the food you’ve eaten through your intestinal tract. However, it should be noted that there is no evidence to prove that increasing your fluid intake will cure constipation.
Aids in digestion – Digestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber. With the help of water, this fiber dissolves easily and benefits your bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.
Prevents you from becoming dehydrated – Your body loses fluids when you engage in vigorous exercise, sweat in high heat, or come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. If you’re losing fluids for any of these reasons, it’s important to increase your fluid intake so that you can restore your body’s natural hydration levels. Your doctor may also recommend that you drink more fluids to help treat other health conditions, like bladder infections and urinary tract stones. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you may want to consult with your physician about your fluid intake because your body will be using more fluids than usual, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Helps control calories – For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
Helps energize muscles – Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well, and performance can suffer. Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
Helps your kidneys – Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that can pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins if your intake of fluids is adequate. When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.
Helps keep your skin looking good – Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration makes your skin look drier and more wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration, but once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids. You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
How much do you need? – Many individuals meet their daily hydration needs by simply drinking water when they’re thirsty, according to a report on nutrient recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. In fact, most people who are in good physical health get enough fluids by drinking water and other beverages when they’re thirsty, and also by drinking a beverage with each of their meals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re not sure about your hydration level, look at your urine. If it’s clear, you’re in good shape. If it’s dark, you’re probably dehydrated.
Adequate intake helps every cell and organ to function properly. Your body is about 60 percent water. Your blood is more than 80 percent water and requires water to make healthy new blood cells. Your bones are more than 50 percent water and, you guessed it, need water to make healthy new bone cells.
Helps maintain normal bowel function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. In addition, water helps to eliminate wastes and toxins from your body through the lymphatic system, kidneys, and intestines.
Can help reduce and prevent pain. Water lubricates your joints, helps reduce joint pain, and protects your joints against wear and tear.
Regulates your metabolism. Water plays an important role converting the food you eat into energy. Also, your brain can confuse hunger with dehydration. So, before you snack, try a glass of water.
Balances body temperature. You lose water through perspiration, which dissipates excess heat and cools your body.
Drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water rehydrates you. Eating colorful, raw fruits and vegetables provides your cells with structured water. This structured water stays in your system long enough to nourish and hydrate cells, and, as a bonus, these sources of water are also rich in cell-protecting antioxidants and health-enhancing fiber.
Benefits your mental health and brain function. Researchers from Tufts University say that even mild dehydration is associated with feelings of anger, depression, and confusion. In addition, water helps to ensure adequate electrical functioning, allowing your brain and nervous system to function properly.
Keeps you looking young. It plumps the skin and fills in wrinkles.