We all need food and water to survive. But, what if you were placed in a position where you had to pick one or the other, which one would you choose? If water was your answer, then you’ve made a very wise decision. The human body can survive for three weeks without food, but only one week of no water could potentially end a person’s life.
Ironically, most people today eat more food than they drink water. They may not notice it now, but every day that passes without drinking the right amount of water is another day of putting their health at risk.
The human adult body is composed of up to 60% water. Water also accounts for 73% of the brain and the heart, 83% of the lungs, 64% of the skin, 79% of the muscles and kidneys, and even our bones are 31% water. It comes as no surprise that the cells in our body require water as a vital nutrient.
Water cleanses the body, regulates our body temperature, forms saliva, and lubricates the joints. The carbohydrates and proteins in our body are transported by water in our bloodstream. It is said that water is life, and perhaps the human body is a testament to that statement.
It’s not hard to tell how important water is for our body. But, the question is, are you drinking enough of it every day? There’s debate surrounding the right amount of water to drink per day. Many go by the 8 x 8 Water Rule, which entails drinking eight glasses containing 8 ounces of water every day. However, the right amount of water depends on the individual’s body and their needs. No matter how much water you need, the benefits of staying hydrated remain the same. Here are some of the reasons why you need to drink your water:
What Are the Benefits of Staying Hydrated?
Cleanses the Body
Drinking water helps our bodies flush out toxins and body waste through urination. With the help of water, our kidneys can then filter these toxins and body wastes from the blood, assisting our body in excreting it through urinating. Having said that, your kidneys may stop functioning correctly if you do not drink enough water. And when this happens, toxins and waste pile up in the body. In the worst case scenario, dehydration may also cause urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Boosts Energy Levels
The brain is 73% water, which means that its functions are impacted by the body’s hydration status. In fact, studies have shown that even the mildest dehydration can alter the brain’s function. According to a study conducted upon a group of young women, 1.36% loss of fluid greatly impacted the participants’ moods and concentration levels. There was also a significant increase in their frequency of headaches.
Good for Your Bones and Joints
Our cells need water to nourish the body and remove waste, but did you know that it also supports the health of your bones? The three main components of the bone are collagen protein, apatite mineral, and water. The hydration level of your body significanyly affects the density and strength of your bones. Water also lubricates the joints, preventing them from potential damage and increased pain for those who are experiencing issues with their joints.
According to medical studies, dehydration causes headaches and migraines. As a solution, other studies also note that water is the solution for such conditions. However, it is important to note that this greatly depends on the type of headache one is experiencing. Water cannot treat all types of headaches, and it seems that it can only provide relief to headaches related to the lack of water within the body.
Promotes Weight Loss
Thirst is commonly mistaken for hunger, which is why most people who are dehydrated tend to put on more weight than those who do not. According to medical experts, drinking plenty of water can help an individual lose weight.
Water makes you feel full and satisfied, which means you eat fewer calories during meals. Water also increases your metabolic rate, helping you to burn more fat during and after your workout. According to one study, participants who drank half a liter of water before meals showed promising weight loss results. After a period of 12 weeks, they were able to lose 44% more weight.
Additionally, weight loss gurus recommend drinking water cold due to the fact that the body needs to use additional energy from calories to heat the water to normal body temperature.
Keeps Your Skin Looking Healthy
Dehydration causes the skin to lose its natural elasticity, leaving the skin looking tired, lackluster, and old. Most people tend to think that dehydration causes dry skin. However, dry skin is the result of a variety of factors; none of them have anything to do with drinking less water. Dry skin is usually caused by harmful chemicals in soap, bathing in hot water, or overexposure to dry air.
What Happens When We Don’t Hydrate Properly?
Not drinking enough water can cause many health conditions that alter the quality of your life. The effects may range from mild to severe, but it does not change the fact that it still affects your day-to-day life. Headaches, muscle pain, and joint pain are some of the most common effects of dehydration. Sleepiness and reduced levels of energy are other examples of common problems.
Those who do not hydrate properly may also have problems with their eating habits. Because they confuse thirst for hunger, they tend to eat more than they should. Not to mention, most people also experience food cravings, particularly sugar. And, although they consume more food, they may also experience constipation which may then lead to another series of health problems related to digestion.
How Long Does It Take to Hydrate?
According to a recent study, drinking 600 ml of water 45 minutes before exercising is all it takes to keep mildly dehydrated adults at age 25 to stay hydrated throughout the whole workout. This study is very promising, especially among those who are mildly dehydrated like the participants in the study. However, further research is needed to test if the results remain consistent for an older or younger age group.
However, one thing is for sure: the more dehydrated a person is, the longer it will take to rehydrate. Although one might feel immediately revitalized after drinking a glass of water, the body requires more time before it recovers internally. To treat dehydration, one must keep the habit of drinking more water consistently.
Is There Such a Thing as Over-Hydration?
Over-hydration can happen, but only if an individual has a particular type of disorder that limits the body’s ability to excrete water. This means that their body retains water when it should have been flushed out through urination.
In the case of a typical individual, over-hydration is not a cause for concern. Typically, there is no such thing as drinking too much water because the body can easily excrete the water in the form of urine.
Easiest Ways of Staying Hydrated During the Day
With self-discipline and motivation, it is not at all difficult to prevent dehydration. It should be very simple. After all, the only thing you need is a bit of time and a glass of water. But, the truth is, instilling a new habit is always tough. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy and fun ways to start drinking more water and to eventually improve your lifestyle. Read on below to find out our favorite ways to stay hydrated:
Invest in a New Water Bottle
Purchasing a water bottle allows you to take your water with you wherever you go. No matter if you are on the usual commute to work or school or if you are out for a walk, having an accessible source of water is a must. Not only does it help you keep track of your water intake, but it also gives you no excuse for not staying hydrated.
Track Your Water Intake
Speaking of water intake, you might want to keep a record of how much water you drink for the day. You can either write it down on paper – a day planner or journal may help, or if you are part of the tech-savvy crowd, then downloading an app is the perfect solution for you.
Give Sparkling a Try
Water is good for the body. But, let’s be honest – it is pretty boring, especially compared to a can of soda. If you love the fizz and pop of carbonated drinks, then you should give sparkling water a try. It may give you the same experience but without the unhealthy amounts of sugar. Plus, it may even inspire you to drink more water.
Many people complain that water tastes like nothing, and this is one of the biggest reasons why some don’t link to drink it. However, it does not have to be that way as you can always add flavor to your water. In fact, just adding a few slices of lemon could already give you a kick of flavor. If you love a bit of zing and the taste of fresh citrus, then you will enjoy drinking lemon water. However, those lemon slices aren’t just there for flavor; they also have their own health benefits as well. Lemons are a good source of vitamin C, they’re good for digestion, and they can even help you lose a bit of weight.
Coconut water is another option for those who think that plain old water tastes too bland. This tropical fruit gives off a mild, sweet flavor. And like lemons, they add more nutritional value to your water. Coconut water isn’t just great for keeping hydrated, it can lower high blood pressure, and it is rich in potassium. Although coconut water is a generally healthy drink, one must be careful about drinking too much as an excessive amount of potassium in the bloodstream can cause problems in the heart.
The cucumber is another great ingredient to add to your water. It is rich in antioxidants, reduces blood sugar levels, and lowers blood pressure levels. However, it is most popular for its soothing and skin revitalizing properties. This is why some people put cucumber slices on their eyes. By adding a couple of slices into your water, you are not only keeping yourself hydrated, but you can also benefit from its long list of health advantages.
True to its name, the watermelon is filled with water. This fruit is perfect for those who are craving for something sweet. The watermelon is abundant with minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C, beta carotene, and lycopene. The fact that it can also protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun makes this fruit the perfect snack during a hot summer day.
Use Flavored Ice Cubes
Infusing your water with fruits and herbs is a great way to stay hydrated. But, during a hot day, using flavored ice cubes is always the better choice. The key is to include fruits and herbs that aren’t just flavorful, but also full of minerals and nutrients. You can use any ingredient that you like as long as it keeps you sipping your glass of water.
Avoid Sodas and Beer
Sodas and beer are off-limits when it comes to staying hydrated. Though they may be in liquid form, they do not replenish the body at all. These drinks contain sugar and caffeine, both of which actually causes the body to become more dehydrated than it already may be. Not only do they not replace the fluids in the body, but the caffeine in these drinks is also actually a diuretic. This makes the body urinate more quickly, causing you to lose more fluids.
Make It a Habit
Last but not least, to stay hydrated, you need to keep drinking water. As mentioned earlier, it takes a long time to rehydrate the body, especially if you’ve been dehydrated for a long time. For the body to completely regain healthy hydration levels, one must be consistent. Make it a habit by tracking your water intake and by making sure to drink at least the minimum amount.
Other Easy Ways of Staying Hydrated
Apart from the tips listed above, another way to stay hydrated is to assess the food that you eat. The body needs a lot of water to break down sugar, so it’s best to control the number of sweets that you eat. Be on the lookout for whole grains as well as they can also be dehydrating. They say that a healthy diet is key to optimal health. As long as you choose the healthier option and keeping everything in moderation, then you are doing a good job already.
Now that you know more about how to stay hydrated, why it’s so important, and how much water is right for you…drink up!