By: Stephanie Heino
We all know we need at least eight glasses of water a day for our bodies to function properly. Drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health and can help fight and prevent diseases, keep your skin clear, make you lose weight – the reasons to drink this magical, life-sustaining substance are endless. Just like we think of other nutrients, we should think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lose each day from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.
When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated, which can lead to all kinds of diseases and health problems! Check out the book, Water for Health, for Healing, for life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!, By F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. The description reads “Asthma, allergies, arthritis, hypertension, depression, headaches, diabetes, obesity, and MS. These are just some of the conditions and diseases that are caused by persistent dehydration. But there is a miracle solution that is readily available, all natural, and free: water”.
As you might know, coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol, and all the other drinks we pour down our throats without knowing the consequences (or just ignoring them) dehydrate the brain. It is believed that Alzheimer’s disease might just be a result of long-term dehydration of the brain. Which could mean that people are not demented, only thirsty. Read the book to find out more, it is truly interesting and eye-opening.
Here are six reasons why you should be drinking more water every day:
1. Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves to hydrate the body.
2. Water for weight loss. For decades, water has been one of the main staples for dieters as a weight loss strategy. While water itself doesn’t magically make you lose weight, substituting it for other beverages can certainly help because of its non-existent calories. If you choose water over a caloric beverage like juice, soda, or alcohol, and eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier and more filling, you will naturally eat less. Foods with high water content such as fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups and beans, have higher volume and are absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full.
3. Energizing Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes contract, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t get enough fluids, they don’t work as well and your performance can be impaired.
4. Beautiful skin. This might be one of the best reasons to drink water, which has done wonders for my skin. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. Also skin disorders such as acne can be greatly improved with water intake in combination with a clean diet. You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. Your kidneys cleanse your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is enough. When you’re getting enough fluids, your urine flows like it should, and 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 hold onto extra fluid for bodily functions. The color of your urine is the perfect test to determine if you’re dehydrated. If it’s anything other than clear or pale, pale yellow, you need more water, stat!
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Being hydrated means keeping things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract like it should, which prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration and the result we get is constipation, or small, dry “rabbit poops”. Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid makes the fiber swell and it acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly, so make sure you get enough fiber from fruit and vegetables.