The benefits of drinking water are amazing. Our bodies are just don’t function properly without it. If you have frequent symptoms of fatigue, headaches, hunger, and digestive problems, water may be what your body is searching for. Drinking water when we feel thirst isn’t enough. Hydration is an intentional act. Find a reusable water bottle and fill it up regularly throughout the day. Once you start this regimen, it will become second nature.
How Our Body Uses Water
It’s a known fact that nearly two-thirds of an adult human body is made of water. In your daily activities, you are losing water through your breath, sweat, urine, and bowel movements. If you are physically active, in a hot climate, running a fever, or have symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, your body loses more fluid.
It is important to remember water as a nutrient for your body to maintain balance. As an added benefit, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive, and readily available.
Drinking adequate water also helps prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking and affecting mood, causes your body to overheat, become constipated, and increases the risk for kidney stones.
Lesser Known Facts About Water in a Human Body
- Babies and children have a higher percentage of water than adults. When babies are born, they are about 78 percent water, but this falls to 65 percent by the age of 1.
- Fatty tissue has less water than lean tissue.
- Men have more water than women, due to body mass.
What Should Be Your Daily Water Intake?
It’s standard advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, mainly because it’s easy to remember and a reasonable goal. But the fluid intake can differ from person to person, health and climatic conditions, etc. For example, a person who perspires heavily will need to drink more than someone who doesn’t. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may also mean you need to drink more water.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has determined that the adequate daily fluid intake for the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need is:
- For women: About 11 cups (2.7 liters or about 91 ounces) total daily fluid intake
- For men: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters or about 125 ounces) total daily fluid intake
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages, and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
Here are some key benefits of staying hydrated:
Accelerates Brain Function & Connectivity
Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you improve concentration and cognition, balance your mood and emotions, and maintain memory function. Having enough fluid through water also increases blood flow and oxygen to your brain, preventing and relieving headaches and reducing stress. (Life, 2019)
Aids in Weight Loss
Drinking water helps you lose weight by acting as an appetite suppressant to feel fuller and eat less, all with zero calories! Drinking plenty of water also prevents fluid retention, because your body won’t try to retain water if it’s getting enough. (BrainMD, 2019)
Multiple research studies have indicated that drinking a large glass of water will increase your metabolism by 24-30% for up to 90 minutes.
Flushes Toxins from Your Body
Though water doesn’t necessarily neutralize toxins, the kidneys and liver use water to flush out certain waste products. If you don’t stay hydrated, your kidneys don’t have the amount of fluid they need to do their job correctly. You are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones and experiencing urinary tract infections.
Helps in Digestion
Sufficient hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and helps prevent constipation. Water helps dissolve waste particles and passes them smoothly through your digestive tract. (BrainMD, 2019)
Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. It increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
Improves Muscle Health & Recovery
Being adequately hydrated is very important when exercising. Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates the joints in your body.
The American Council on Exercise has suggested the following guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising.
- Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up.
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.
(Editorial Staff, 2020)
Now that you’ve read about how vital water is to our bodies and the benefits of staying hydrated, it should be an easy decision to keep your water bottle handy. If you have children in sports, it’s important to be sure they are kept hydrated. Make sure you bring a cooler to the game stocked with water and drinks that replenish electrolytes. If you live in a hot climate, as we do, it’s even more important to be aware of fluid intake. Water should be a family regimen on and off the playing field or at the gym. Creating a healthy mindset around drinking water will keep our bodies running optimally all day.
McIntosh, J. (2018, July 16). 15 benefits of drinking water and other water facts. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.
Hannah, H. (2019, March 8). The Importance of Water. https://theheartfoundation.org/2019/03/08/the-importance-of-water/.
Staff, E. (2020, August 13). Hydration for Athletes. familydoctor.org. https://familydoctor.org/athletes-the-importance-of-good-hydration/.
“What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Water?: BrainMD.” N.p., 12 June 2020. Web. 24 Aug. 2020. https://brainmd.com/blog/6-amazing-health-benefits-of-drinking-water.
Leech, J. (2020, June 30). 7 Reasons Why You Should Drink More Water. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water.