Most people know that drinking enough water is important. It’s a common health recommendation that led many to start carrying a water bottle with them wherever they go. But not everyone understands why consuming enough H2O is so critical and exactly how it helps the body. If you’d like to find out, here’s a look at ten ways water benefits your body.
10 Ways Water Benefits Your Body
1. Body Fluid Balance
On average, an adult body is about 60 percent water. It is part of a range of bodily fluids, many of which are critical for health. They assist with core functions like circulation, digestion, and body temperature regulation. Plus, the water plays a role in lubrication, including the creation of tears and saliva.
If you aren’t getting enough water, your bodily fluids may be compromised. In some cases, your body won’t be able to create enough. In others, the composition of the fluid might not be ideal. All of those scenarios affect your health, which is why staying hydrated is so important.
2. Weight Loss or Management
While water doesn’t technically cause you to lose weight, it can help you keep your calorie consumption under control. Water doesn’t contain any calories. By substituting another drink – like soda or juice – with water, you are reducing the number of calories you take in.
Additionally, if you drink water before a meal, you might feel fuller, faster. This could cause you to eat less, leading to weight loss or making it easier to avoid overindulging.
3. More Muscle Energy
When you don’t get enough water, your cells will struggle. They need the right amount of fluids and electrolytes, or they can begin to wither. When this happens, you are more likely to experience muscle fatigue.
By consuming enough water before exercising, you are ensuring your cells can maintain the right balance. Since you lose water when you sweat, drinking water before a workout and sipping it throughout can help keep everything in order.
4. Better Looking Skin
Your skin relies on water, and actually contains quite a bit of it. Dehydration can actually make your skin drier or might cause wrinkles to appear more pronounced. While the fine lines and wrinkles won’t disappear if you overhydrate, consuming enough water can make sure your skin isn’t suffering from the ill-effects of dehydration.
5. Kidney Function
Your cells produce waste products that have to be removed from the body. Mainly, blood urea nitrogen is a significant concern. This water-soluble waste product can pass through the kidneys and is sent out in urine. But, if you don’t consume enough water, your kidneys won’t perform as well as they could.
Plus, not drinking enough H2O can put you at higher risk for kidney stones. This is especially true if you are chronically dehydrated, and your kidneys don’t have the fluids they need to get waste materials out of the body.
6. Joint Comfort
The joints in your body also rely heavily on water. Fluids surrounding your joints provide lubrication, allowing them to move more smoothly. Additionally, the fluid acts as a cushion, giving you a degree of protection, especially from high-impact activities like running or jumping.
By staying hydrated, you are making your joints feel more comfortable. This makes it easier to participate in physical activities, even if you suffer from conditions like arthritis.
7. Nutrient Absorption
Certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients aren’t properly absorbed by the body if you are dehydrated. Some are water-soluble. Without water, they don’t dissolve properly and can’t be moved through the body correctly.
For example, B-complex and C vitamins are all water-soluble. Once dissolved, they can reach the small intestine and enter the bloodstream, ensuring they can get absorbed and support various bodily functions.
8. Cognitive Function
Dehydration can make you feel mentally foggy. You might have trouble concentrating on the task at hand or otherwise remaining alert. Your short-term memory may even suffer, potentially causing you to be forgetful.
By staying hydrated, you are ensuring your cognitive function is as high as possible. Essentially, you are supporting your brain, making it easier for you to stay focused.
9. Improved Mood
Being dehydrated isn’t the most fun. The negative effects on the body can make you frustrated or anxious, or you could become annoyed at your level of fatigue or inability to focus. As a result, your mood isn’t ideal.
When you drink enough water, you are incidentally supporting a better mood. When you feel that you are physically at your best, your mental state typically becomes more positive as well.
10. Keeping You Alive
Severe dehydration is incredibly dangerous. If you don’t get enough water, certain bodily functions may fail. This can lead to issues like significant electrolyte imbalances, brain swelling, kidney failure, or seizures. In the worst-case scenario, it can even result in death.
While it may sound extreme, it can happen. And you don’t necessarily have to be sweltering in extreme heat to get that dehydrated. When you drink water, you are taking active steps that keep you alive and healthy.
Getting Enough Water
While most people have heard the recommendation that they need to drink eight 8-ounce cups of water every day, that isn’t always the case. People’s water needs vary. You might want to consume more or might be able to get away with less, depending on your activity level, where you live, health conditions, medications you are taking, and other factors.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine state that, on average, men need about 15.5 cups each day from all sources, while women need 11.5 cups. But that’s just an average. Those in hot climates, who suffer from certain medical conditions, or exercise could need more. If you aren’t sure how much you need, talk with a medical professional. They can help you determine what’s right for you.