Importance of Drinking Water

Drinking water has many health benefits. It keeps you hydrated, it helps with weight loss, it helps your brain and so much more.

From the Bottomline drinking water is the easiest thing you can do for your brain, but most people don’t drink anywhere near enough. “Fact: About 80% of the brain is comprised of water. If you don’t drink enough-or if you drink a lot of dehydrating liquids, such as coffee or alcohol-you’re going to struggle to think clearly and you may have memory problems. That’s because dehydration increases stress hormones, and stress hormones interfere with cognitive abilities.” Even BBC mentions that dehydration will affect your brain’s performance.

WebMD points out that we lose fluid daily through our skin, by breathing, our urine and stools etc. This fluid needs to be replaced, or we can become dehydrated. Depending on where we live, and how we live, we might lose bodily fluids more than others.

WebMD list 6 reasons why we should drink more water.
1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. It may not exactly help you reduce your weight unless you are substituting it for a high calorie beverage. On the other hand, if you drink water prior to eating you will feel more full and tend to eat less.

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. Our muscle cells will not work as well if we do not have sufficient amount of fluids.

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Just don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines. However, if you are dehydrated, your skin may appear more dry and wrinkled.

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. 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 live in a warm climate and drink too little, you are at a higher risk for kidney stones.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation. When you eat enough fiber and drink enough fluids, the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.

5 Tips to Help You Drink More
1. Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
2. Choose beverages you enjoy; you’re likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
4. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
5. Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, go for non-caloric beverages or water.

Water for Weight Loss
Living Strong suggests that if you want to lose weight, drinking water can help you decrease your body fat and shed pounds. Water helps you feel full and is calorie free. It makes you feel more full and more likely to eat less. A study conducted at Virginia Tech had people drink two 8-ounce glasses of water before each meal. They would typically eat 75 to 90 fewer calories per meal. Water flushes toxins and unused food waste from your system. Since water is a key ingredient in your blood, muscles and sweat, it plays a role in every system in your body. When you are dehydrated your body will retain the water it does have, making you feel bloated and makes you weigh more.

The American College of Sports Medicine 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.

Dr. Oz reminds us that we each have hectic schedules and therefore may not get enough water to properly keep us hydrated. He lists 4 signs of dehydration.

“Dehydration Dangers:
1. Dark Urine Your urine should be clear; if looks like tea when you go to the bathroom, you’re dehydrated.
2. Dry Skin If your body is dehydrated, it will do everything it can to hold onto fluids. Your skin is the first place to be robbed of water. Major indicators of dehydration include skin that is less plump and flexible, sunken eyes, dark circles or dry lips. Assess your skin with a skin turgor test; pinch a fold of skin on top of your forearm. If this pinch and stays up in a tent, there is not enough water volume behind your skin.
3. Dizziness When your body is dehydrated, it is harder to distribute water. Dizziness can occur when you go from lying down to sitting or standing. The upright movement causes water to rush away from your heart and brain, which makes you dizzy.
4. Constipation Your body absorbs water from your intestines and draws moisture from your stool. This makes them hard, dry and difficult to pass.”

Here are ways that you can make sure you’re getting enough water.

Hydration Helpers:
1. Know When to Drink More When you do something that raises your heart rate, like exercising, you lose water. Counteract this loss by drinking an 8-oz glass of water per hour of activity.
2. Drink 1 for 1 Caffeine dehydrates your body. For every cup of coffee or tea you drink, have 1 glass of water too.
3. Get Your Water From Food Many fruits and vegetables are rich in water – the juicer, the better. Watermelon, papaya, cucumber and celery are great choices because they have water, sodium and potassium, which are all needed to prevent dehydration.”

A suggestion to help make water more appealing is to add lemon juice, or orange peels, or anise seeds to your water.

From Mayo ClinicWater: How much should you drink every day?
The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day; for women it is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

Another way to figure how much water to drink is to take your weight, and divide by two. Take that number and that is how many of ounces you should drink daily.

There are Factors that influence water needs; how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. Be sure to take these into consideration in staying properly hydrated.

Below are some other interesting articles to read.


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