There Are Huge Health Benefits of Drinking Water But How Much Should You Really Drink?
First Lady Michelle Obama was hit with a bit of controversy recently, when she recommended that Americans drink more water, but no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, she’s right!
There are significant health benefits to drinking water every day, especially if you’re also cutting down on sugary soft drinks.
About 70% of our body mass is made up of water, and doctors recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day for good health.
Here are some of the many benefits of drinking water, and ways to be sure you’re getting enough.
Balances body fluids
Since your body is 60% water, it’s no surprise that your daily intake of this fluid helps your bodily fluids to control absorption, circulation, digestion and maintenance of body temperature. When your body gets low on fluids, your brain triggers the thirst mechanism that’s your clue to drink water or other fluids.
Controls calorie intake
Drinking water can suppress your appetite, limiting your food intake. Plus, substituting plain water for other, more calorie-filled liquids can definitely aid your weight-loss plan. Sodas can contain hundreds of empty calories and very little nutrition, so cutting back or eliminating them and drinking more water can result in faster weight loss. Drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help you feel full and eat less.
Another tip for quicker weight loss is to add water-rich foods to your diet. Consuming more fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, beans and broth-based soups will give you a feeling of fullness because they’re absorbed more slowly by the body than calorie-dense foods. Drinking water also helps your body burn stored fat by improving liver function.
Increases cognitive function
Your brain needs a steady supply of oxygen for optimal functioning, and drinking enough water helps your brain get all the oxygen it needs. Studies show that drinking eight to ten cups of water per day can result in a 30% increase in levels of cognitive performance. Drinking enough water also supports nerve function by keeping your electrolyte levels high. This is especially important for the nerves that transmit messages to and from your brain.
If there’s one time when you must drink enough water, it’s when you’re exercising, because muscle cells require an adequate supply of fluids for optimal performance. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking about 17 ounces of fluid two hours before exercising, then drinking more at intervals to replace the amount lost by sweating. Muscle cells that don’t get the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes will shrivel, resulting in muscle fatigue. Drinking enough water will help your muscles work longer and harder before getting tired, so you build muscle faster.
If you suffer from joint pain, it’s even more crucial that you get enough water. Joints need moisture to stay flexible and strong. Drinking more water can ensure that your movements are smooth and free of pain.
Skin must be properly hydrated to look its best, and dehydration can result in dry, cracked, wrinkled skin. In addition to drinking enough water to hydrate skin from the inside out, lock in moisture with a good moisturizer. Adequate water intake may also combat skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis.
If you don’t drink enough water, your body can start to retain fluids, leading to bloating and puffy skin. Avoid alcohol and drinks containing caffeine, because these can actually dry your skin by causing dehydration.
Keep reading because just ahead I’ll show you some more benefits of water that will really show you how beneficial water can be to your future health.
One of the main causes of headaches is dehydration, so reach for the water before you pop an aspirin. A study published in the journal Neurology found that migraine sufferers who added six cups of water to their daily intake experienced 21 fewer hours of pain over two weeks. Drinking water can also sooth back pain.
Helps kidney function
Your kidneys work hard to rid your body of toxins, but in order to do their best job of cleansing, they must have a regular supply of water. The main toxin your kidneys have to deal with is called blood urea nitrogen, and it may not be excreted properly if you don’t get enough water. A warning sign that you’re not ingesting enough fluids is urine that is darker, more concentrated and has an odor. Chronically drinking too little water can also result in kidney stones.
Research has shown that staying well hydrated can cut the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and colon cancer by 45%. Drinking enough water may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Drinking enough water every day can strengthen your immune system, which will help you fight off flu bugs as well as lessen the effects of arthritis, rheumatism and intestinal problems.
Promotes a healthy heart
If your body doesn’t get enough water, your heart has to work harder to pump fresh oxygenated blood to your organs. Over a period of time, this can cause severe health issues. A study by California’s Loma Linda University found that people who drank enough water every day were much less likely to have a heart attack.
Your gastrointestinal tract requires sufficient fluid intake to keep things moving smoothly. If you don’t drink enough water, the colon will pull water from your stools, resulting in constipation. To stay regular, give your body both plenty of fluids and adequate fiber.
How to get all the water you need.
If you’re not taking in as much water as you should, start making it easier to quench your thirst the right way, no matter where you are or when you need a drink. Pick up a case of those 12-16 ounce bottles of water and make sure you always have one nearby. Get in the habit of tucking one into your bag or briefcase, and keep others in your car and desk at work.
If you hate the idea of all those plastic bottles clogging up our landfills, carry your water in a reusable sports bottle to cut down on waste. Put a water cooler in your kitchen and have refills delivered weekly. Or save more money by buying a filter and getting your drinking water out of the tap.
Always have your favorite healthy beverages in the fridge. Stock it up with juices, milk and home-brewed ice tea so you won’t be tempted by those sugar-laden soft drinks or caffeine-loaded energy drinks. Have water or another drink with every meal or snack.
With all the great health benefits to be had just by drinking more water, isn’t it time you made getting those eight glasses a day a new and healthy habit?
|Written on 10/18/2013 by Linda Cauthen.|