WATER, they say is life and the best drink on earth. Water is so precious that no matter any other drink you consume, none can give you satisfaction as water.
Has it occurred to you today that you are thirsty? You are dehydrated when you experience the sensation of being thirsty. That thirst is your body calling for re-hydration.
Water helps keep the body well hydrated, which is essential because all the cells and organs of the body need water to function properly.
Water is the main component of the human body. In fact, the body is composed of between 55 and 78 percent water, depending on body size. Adequate and regular water consumption has numerous health benefits. As an added plus, it has no calories, fat, carbohydrates or sugar.
During every day functioning, water is lost by the body, and this needs to be replaced. It is noticeable that we lose water through activities such as sweating and urination, but water is even lost when breathing.
The amount of water you consume everyday plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body. Experts recommend drinking eight to 10 glasses of water each day to maintain good health.
The Many Health Benefits
Most people take drinking water for granted, but keeping hydrated has a huge impact on overall health, like:
1. Helps in Digestion and Prevents Constipation
Water also improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This helps in digestion and prevents constipation.
Drinking sufficient water boosts your metabolism and helps the body properly break down food. This helps your digestive system work well and promotes regular bowel movements. Warm water, in particular, is good for digestive health.
Inadequate water in the body often results in constipation as the colon pulls water from the stools to maintain hydration, thereby making them harder and difficult to pass.
2. Relieves Fatigue and Increases Energy
If you often feel tired, there is a high chance that it could be due to inadequate consumption of water which makes the body function less efficiently. In fact, fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration.
When there is less water in the body, there is a drop of blood volume which causes the heart to work harder to pump oxygenated blood out in the bloodstream, and other major organs also work less efficiently. Thus, drinking adequate water can help your body function better and reduce fatigue.
Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!
3. Treats Headaches and Migraines
If you have a headache or migraine, the first thing that you can do to get some relief is drink plenty of water. Headaches and migraines are often caused by dehydration.
4. Improves Mood
Research indicates that mild dehydration can negatively affect your mood and ability to think.
A small study conducted on 25 women and published in the Journal of Nutrition found that being dehydrated can take a toll on your mood and cognitive function. The colour of your urine is a good indicator of your level of hydration. The lighter the colour, the better the level of hydration and vice versa.
5. Aids Weight Loss
In a clinical trial, scientists found that drinking two eight-ounce glasses of water prior to meals can help suppress appetite and hence support your weight loss efforts. When you drink water, it fills your stomach and reduces the tendency to eat more.
Plus, it helps increase the rate at which the body burns fat, and promotes the breakdown and elimination of fat cells.
Calorie-free water is also a great replacement for high-calorie drinks like alcohol, sugary fizzy drinks and sodas that often contribute to weight gain.
6. Flushes out Toxins
Water is an excellent detoxifier as it helps flush out toxins from your body and get rid of waste primarily through sweat and urine.
It also promotes kidney function and reduces kidney stones by diluting the salts and minerals in urine that cause kidney stones.
Though you need to drink adequate amount of water throughout the day, experts warn against drinking too much water as it may reduce your kidneys’ ability to filter out waste.
Thus, it is recommended to drink the amount of water your body requires. As the amount of water required by the body tends to differ from one person to another, it is usually suggested to drink to your thirst, and also include other fluids and foods with high water content in your diet.
7. Prevents Cramps & Sprains
Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.
8. Regulates Body Temperature
An ample amount of water in the body also helps regulate body temperature. The thermal properties of water and its ability to release heat from the body when sweat evaporates from the surface of the skin greatly helps maintain an even body temperature.
A well-regulated body temperature also will make you feel more energetic when exercising. Water also helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, thus preventing cramps and sprains.
9. Promotes Healthy Skin
Water keeps the body well hydrated and improves capillary blood flow, which promotes healthier and younger-looking skin. Water helps replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increases the elasticity in your skin.
When the body gets enough water, your skin will feel moisturized and it will look fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. Also, water helps prevent and treat soft lines, scars, acne, wrinkles and other aging symptoms.
10. Relieves Hangover
Drinking water works as a simple yet effective way to get rid of hangover as well. Being a diuretic, alcohol causes you to pee much more than you take in. Thus, water helps re-hydrate the body and speed up recovery.
Experts recommend drinking 16 to 20 ounces of water at night before going to bed after you have had too much alcohol.
11. Beats Bad Breath
Bad breath is a clear sign that you may not be drinking sufficient water. It keeps your mouth moist and washes away food particles and bacteria. It also dilutes the smelly compounds that oral bacteria create.
So, drink sufficient water and also rinse your mouth with water, especially after having a meal or snack to control odours and remove bacteria and food debris stuck between your teeth and gum line.
12. May Help Treat Kidney Stones
Urinary stones are painful clumps of mineral crystal that form in the urinary system. The most common form is kidney stones, which form in the kidneys.
There is limited evidence that water intake can help prevent recurrence in people who have previously gotten kidney stones.
Higher fluid intake increases the volume of urine passing through the kidneys, which dilutes the concentration of minerals, so they are less likely to crystallize and form clumps.
Water may also help prevent the initial formation of stones, but studies are required to confirm this.
13. Boosts Immune System
A water guzzler is less likely to get sick. And who wouldn’t rather feel healthy the majority of the time? Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks.
Tips to Help You Drink More
If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:
Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
Choose beverages you enjoy; you're likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration.
Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you're watching calories, go for non-caloric beverages.
Although some of the water required by the body is obtained through foods with a high water content - soups, tomatoes, oranges - the majority is gained through drinking water and other beverages.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
The recommended amount of water to be drunk per day varies from person to person, depending on factors such as how active they are and how much they sweat. There is no universally agreed upon amount of water that must be consumed daily, but there is a general level of consensus as to what a healthy amount is. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the US, an adequate intake for men is approximately 13 cups (3 litres) a day. For women, an adequate intake is around 9 cups (2.2 litres).
Many people will have heard the phrase, "drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day," which works out at around 1.9 litres and is close to the IOM's recommendation for women. Drinking "8 by 8" is an easy-to-remember amount that can put people on the right track regarding water consumption. Remember, all non-alcoholic fluid counts towards this recommendation.
It is essential to make necessary efforts to drink adequate amount of water daily. To derive the various health benefits of water, make sure to drink well treated water. Along with water, also take more fluids and eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in water content.