Water is widely accepted as the most vital resource for our survival, second only to air. To meet people’s biological needs, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men consume approximately 3.7 liters of water, and women 2.7 liters of water a day.
But why is water important for the body? Read on to learn the health benefits of hydration, and you’ll be reaching for a glass of water pronto.
10 Proven Benefits of Water and Proper Hydration
1. Helps Regulate Body Temperature and Prevents Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when there isn’t enough water in the body to support crucial bodily functions. The body loses water through various physical activities, like when you’re hot or engaging in strenuous activities that cause your body temperature to rise. Sweat helps you cool down, but it’s essential to replace the water lost by drinking enough.
If your water intake is disproportional to your water loss, then you run the risk of becoming dehydrated, which, in severe cases, can lead to seizures, kidney failure, and other serious complications.
2. Lubricates Joints, Tissues, and the Spinal Cord
Water helps keep your joints, tissues, and spinal cord moist and cushioned, enabling you to be active and mobile. With proper hydration, you can keep these crucial motion points protected and lubricated, so that you can move freely with minimal discomfort.
3. Cleanses the Body via Elimination and Perspiration
Just as water forms a significant part of what’s inside the body, it also comprises a major portion of what exits the body. Aside from sweat, water is a primary component of other excretions like urine. It aids the kidneys in removing waste from the blood and flushing out toxins from the body via urine.
4. Prevents Constipation
Related to its benefit of aiding in healthy bowel movements, sufficient water intake can help reduce the risk of constipation. If you’re struggling with this, consider drinking both carbonated and flat water to alleviate your symptoms.
5. Helps Improve Physical Performance
One of the key benefits of hydration is that it helps keep your strength, endurance, and power up, making water an essential part of any workout and training regimen. Research has shown that athletes can lose 6-10% of their body weight due to perspiration when engaging in athletic activities.
Tying back to the first point, it’s critical to remain sufficiently hydrated to continue performing in top shape and avoid the potentially serious consequences that result from severe dehydration.
6. Aids with Nutrient Absorption
Water is crucial in getting the most nutritional value out of your food. According to Michael Picco MD of the Mayo Clinic, adequate liquid intake before, during, and after meals help the digestive system break down the food and absorb essential nutrients that the body needs. Additionally, water, which is a big component of human blood, helps carry oxygen and essential nutrients through the entire body.
7. Promotes a Healthy Weight
If you’re looking to lose or maintain a healthy weight, increase your water intake. A 2012 study found a link between increasing water intake with considerable loss of body fat and weight. This is supported by the results of a 2013 study that reviewed the effects of drinking 1,500 ml of water everyday on 50 overweight females. That study found that subjects experienced a decrease in body weight, body mass index, and body composition scores.
Drinking more water can also help you consume fewer calories of unhealthy food. A 2016 study among U.S. adults found that drinking just 1% more water every day resulted in lower consumption of saturated fat, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and a overall lower calorie intake. Additionally, a 2018 study indicates that drinking water can make you feel fuller and result in lower food consumption, so it may be an effective strategy for weight control. (Important note: If you're hungry, eat! Water is not a substitute for food.)
8. Helps Boost Immunity
Staying sufficiently hydrated can help increase your body’s immunity and ability to fight off diseases. A 2005 study found evidence that maintaining proper hydration has positive effects in countering urinary tract infection, hypertension, fatal coronary heart disease, and other illnesses.
This also ties back to the previous point that water aids in digestion and nutrient absorption. Immunity is fortified when the body efficiently takes in more vitamins and nutrients.
9. Improves Metabolism, Mood, and Skin
Drinking water can help you live a generally healthier and brighter life. A 2003 study found that drinking 500 ml of water can help increase the metabolic rate by 30%. It can also improve your mood because it prevents dehydration, which is known to cause fatigue, confusion, and anxiety.
Sufficient water consumption can also benefit your skincare routine, as it helps promote skin hydration and collagen production.
10. Sustains Cognitive Function
Staying hydrated helps keep your mind in top shape. A 2012 review analyzed that even 2% dehydration can negatively affect your cognitive performance in tasks that need immediate memory skills, attention, psychomotor skills, and assessment skills. This is supported by the findings of a 2019 study which concluded that rehydration alleviates fatigue and improves short-term memory, attention span, reaction time, and total mood.
Remember that the amount of water you need each day varies based on factors like your sex, weight, and the climate you live in. A good indication is the color of your urine. If it's mostly clear, you're hydrated. If not, drink up!
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