Did you know that about 60% of your body is made up of water? The water that you drink every day plays a vital role in maintaining your health as well as in helping your body function properly. Your body loses its fluids continuously in the form of sweat, urine, stool etc and it is extremely important to replace the lost water to stay healthy. When your body does not get adequate water to carry out the vital functions, dehydration occurs. Most people take water for granted. Only a few understand its importance in sustaining life. When a 1 % reduction of water occurs in your body you start to feel thirsty. When it is reduced by about 5 %, your muscles become weak and tiredness sets in. A further loss of body water by 10 percent results in blurred vision and disorientation and when the loss reaches 20 %, death may occur.
How much water should you drink daily?
You must have heard of a popular advice that you should drink at least 8 ounce glasses of water every day. There is no hard evidence to support this advice and it is also a topic that has been much debated about. The amount of water that an individual requires every day actually depends on many factors such as body size, environment, activity level of the person, and health conditions. According to the Institute of Medicine, the adequate fluid intake for men is approximately 13 cups or 3 liters per day and that for women is about 9 cups or 2.2 liters a day. That being said, too much of anything is bad for you and this saying holds true for water also. Over-hydration can turn to be hazardous because too much water dilutes your body fluids and as a result, the level of sodium in your body can fall to a dangerously low level. This may cause your cells, including the brain cells to swell leading to loss of consciousness, convulsions, coma and even death.
Benefits of drinking water
Here are a few reasons why you should be drinking adequate water every day:
Water helps to control your calorie intake
Replacing high calorie drinks and beverages with water can help in controlling the amount of calories that you intake, which is helpful in losing weight. Foods containing high water content are absorbed slowly by your body and hence you feel fuller for a long period of time and refrain from overeating. Water, being a zero calorie drink does not add to your calorie intake as well.
Water keeps your skin looking beautiful and healthy
Water is not only important for a healthy body, but is also essential for vitalized skin. Water helps in hydrating and moisturizing your skin. It supplies the essential nutrients to your skin and replenishes the cells and tissues. Water helps in increasing the elasticity of the skin, thereby inhibiting the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Drinking adequate water can keep your skin looking healthy and supple. By hydrating your skin, water helps in fighting off skin problems eczema and psoriasis. It also helps in flushing out the harmful toxins from the body.
Learn how Sarah Smith took 10 years off her face in 4 weeks by drinking 3 liters of water daily.
Water for healthy hair
Washing your hair with cold water can make it smooth and shiny. It supports vitamin consumption and promotes the healthy growth of hair. Your hair requires to be lubricated inside out and water is the best way to provide the needed lubrication. It has been found that dehydration can negatively affect the healthy growth of hair. Without proper moisturization, your hair can turn dry, hard and brittle, leading to hair breakage and hair fall. Drinking water can also help in eliminating conditions like dandruff and dry scalp.
Water keeps your muscles strong and healthy
An interesting fact that most people don’t know is that muscle is composed of 80% water. Without enough water, your muscles will be deprived of the necessary electrolytes, making them weak. Water also functions as a lubricating fluid between the joints. It helps in the normal contraction of the muscles and prevents muscle pain and muscle cramps. Drinking water is also essential for better exercise performance and fast muscle recovery.
Water aids in digestion
Drinking water during or after meals helps in proper digestion and the better absorption of nutrients by your body. It also works as digestive lubricant. It is responsible form movement of food in digestive tract. It is recommended that you drink at least 8 glasses of water. Water is helpful in breaking down the food and also in flushing out the toxins that are formed in your system. It also helps in preventing constipation by making your stool softer and a lot easier to pass. Water is also essential part of various metabolic activities in body. It helps in breakdown of food to nutrients which can be readily absorbed in body.
Water helps in preventing the occurrence of kidney stones
Kidney stones are formed when chemicals in the urine become concentrated and develop in to crystals. These crystals grow in size and while passing through the urinary tract, they may get stuck and block the passage of urine, leading to immense pain. Drinking plenty of water helps in diluting the chemicals in urine that are responsible for the formation of stones.
Water aids in pH regulation
It is highly essential that your body maintains a specific pH level of 7.4. If the pH value becomes less than 6.9 or greater than 7.6, it can be highly dangerous, even life threatening. Therefore it is critical that the pH is maintained at the normal level and not allowed to deviate too much from this level. Drinking water can help in maintaining the pH balance of your body.
Water maintains the electrolyte balance
Electrolytes play an important role in muscular activity and in transmitting nerve impulses from different parts of the body to the brain and vice versa. Water is crucial in maintaining the proper levels of electrolytes inside your body.
Water and cancer prevention
Some studies reveal that drinking enough water can help in reducing the risk of certain types of cancers like colon cancer and bladder cancer. Water dilutes the toxic substances and increases the speed of stool passage so that these harmful substance or carcinogens that may lead to cancer do not stay in contact with lining of the bowels for a long time.
Water improves cognitive function
Your brain requires plenty of oxygen in order to function at its best. By drinking lot of water, your brain gets the required supply of oxygen. It has been found that drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily is helpful in improving your cognitive function by about 30%. Water also helps in maintaining the electrolyte levels, which is essential in transmitting messages to and from the brain.
Water for mental and physical reflex
Active people need high levels of water. Water shortage in body may lead to delayed reflexes. Dehydration is far greater problem for athletes and required to improve their physical performance and stamina. If you are on exercise regime you should drink los of water to keep your body fit and active. Water helps in maintaining concentration, avoid cramps. A study shows that even few percentage reduction of water level in body may reduce your performance.
Water for healthy heart
Drinking lots of water helps the heart to pump blood more easily. Water makes the blood dilute and hence lowers the risks of formation of blood clots. Water is needed for the blood to carry the nutrients to all parts of the body. According to a study, those who drank eight glasses of water every day had lower risks of suffering a heart attack than people who drank less water. According to a study, consumption of five or more glasses of water a day reduces risk of heart attack by 40%.
Water detoxifies body
Water aids in excretory functions and thus helps remove toxic chemicals from our body. Drinking adequate quantities of water is good way to detoxify your body. One should ensure adequate water intake daily to keep our body fit and free from accumulation of toxic materials in body.
Water intake protects your kidneys
Research indicates that drinking plenty of water helps the kidneys in removing urea, sodium, and other harmful toxins from your body. It may also lower the risk of developing kidney problems. Your kidneys do an amazing job of getting rid of the toxins from your body and this job is made easier if your drink adequate water.
Water fights infections
Drinking enough water has been found to be effective in fighting infections because
it helps in flushing out the toxins from your body. Water is very helpful in preventing infections in the urinary bladder. When you are suffering from flu or cold, it is recommended to stay well hydrated as it helps in clearing the airways.
Water helps regulate body temperature
Water play very important role in regulation of our body temperature. Our blood is part of body thermoregulation. We sweat when we do exercise or when it is hot. Water is required for production of sweat. Water deficit may lead to stress on this regulatory system.
Water and hyperacidity
We skip often meals and drink inadequate water. These can be attributed to our busy lifestyle. All such lifestyle issues and not drinking water regularly may lead to hyperacidity and Gastro esophageal reflex disorder. It is advised to drink water regularly to keep acidity undercheck.
Tips to drink more water
If you feel that you are not drinking enough water, here are a few tips that help you do so. Make sure to drink one glass of water as soon as you wake up. Always keep a bottle of water in your bag or desk so that you don’t go for other beverages when you are thirsty. Try to substitute sugary drinks and other such beverages with pure and fresh water. Sometimes when you think you are hungry drink a glass of water because you might really be thirsty. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before every meal or snack. Adding lemon juice to water is a great way to improve the taste of water, which makes you want to drink more. Add these good habits to your lifestyle and enjoy the benefits of water –
- Drink 2-3 glasses of water once you wake up. This shall energize your gastrointestinal system and activate the body metabolism.
- If you feel hungry frequently simply drink water.
- Water is essential after your meals to aid digestion. Some believe that you should not drink water immediately after meal but wait for sometime before you drink water.
- If you are having cold and fever, you need to drink more water. Drinking lukewarm water during cough or cold provides relief.
- Diarrhea results in loss of water and electrolyte from body. Add electrolyte to water and drink regularly.
- If you are suffering from cramps, it may be symbol of dehydration. Drink more water. Add some honey and lemon to water, it helps relieve cramps.
- Drinking Water is essential to deal with hangover. It helps in detoxifying your body. Alcohol also leads to replacing body fluids which leaves you dehydrated.
- Hyperacidity troubling you? Drink some water after ever half hour. It will maintain pH in your stomach.
- Painful headache could be because of dehydration or neck muscle spasm. Drinking water during headache helps in maintaining balance and treating headache.
In this world where the market is booming with sport drinks, soft drinks, energy boosters and other beverages, the importance of drinking pure and fresh water is often neglected or overlooked. Water is an essential element that helps our body function properly and it is not possible to survive for more than a few days without water intake. It’s not just us humans, but the entire living things on this earth need water to sustain their life, which is why water is called the elixir of life!Image Credits: Flickr- Matt Rudge, Warren Smith