Water. H20. Aqua. Known by many names, it is the key and main ingredient to life on our planet. Did you know that 60% of the adult human body consists of water? (1) Our brains thrive on water, as does every system in our body. Our vital organs, our brains and hearts, are composed of 73% water, and our lungs are 83% water. (1) Even ore bones, as solid as they are, consist of 31% water.(1)
The average person requires 3.2 litres of water per day. To be exact, the recommended amount is 3.7 litres (equaling 15.5 cups) for men, and (2.7 Litres) equivalent to 11.5 cups for women. (2) Staying well hydrated is essential for good health, as water gets depleted from our bodies daily through a multitude of bodily functions, such as sweat, urine and even water vapor exhaled through breathing. Without proper rehydration, we risk becoming dehydrated. (3)
Dehydration is easily preventable by drinking enough fluids, especially water, and yet, most of us don’t drink enough water on a daily basis (3). The bad news is, dehydration can wreak havoc on our bodies and can even affect our mental abilities. Data has shown that driving while thirsty can actually be just as bad as driving under the influence! (4) Left untreated, mild dehydration can turn into chronic dehydration, which has been linked to high blood pressure (5) and kidney damage (6).
One way our body lets us know that we are dehydrated, is by feeling thirst, and yet by the time we become aware of our thirst, our bodies have already entered a state of dehydration. (3), which is all the more cause for us to drink up the recommended amount of water daily, regardless of thirst.
Still not sold? Well, the following health benefits are more incentive to rehydrate and rejuvenate:
- Detoxify your body, first thing in the morning
It’s not only important to drink the recommended amount of water daily, but equally important is to drink water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. As reported here by Parenting.firstcry.com, during the night, our bodies work to heal and cleanse themselves. As a result, toxins build up, waiting to be flushed out in the morning. Drinking water on an empty stomach, helps to clear up those toxins, as well as smoothen bowel movements. (7)
If that isn’t enough, it also helps to boost metabolism, increase our energy levels and creates a healthy appetite, as well as boosting the production of red blood cells, which in turn, oxygenates our blood and improves our energy levels. (7) In short, who needs caffeine, when you can reap all these benefits by drinking water first thing in the morning!
- Optimal Brain Function.(8)
Just like water helps to flush out toxins from the body and digestive system, water can help restart, and cleanse the brain. The brain relies on electrolytes and water to keep its servers humming smoothly, and the synapses firing consistently. (8)
The brain is one of the first organs to suffer when it becomes dehydrated, causing our mental abilities to slow down, making it harder to stay focused and to concentrate. If the brain becomes seriously dehydrated and toxins and dead cells build up, it can noticeably affect our cognitive abilities. (8)
- Optimal Digestion.
Drinking water can aid digestion in multiple ways. As mentioned above, drinking water first thing in the morning, acts to flush and help clear the digestive tract, smoothing bowel movements. In fact, drinking water and hydrating is often used as a natural remedy to constipation (9). Water and other liquids aid digestion by helping the stomach and intestines break up food particles and helps in absorbing water-soluble nutrients from the digested food into the body.
- Detoxify and cleanse: The kidneys and liver.
The kidneys and liver are the waste removal systems of the body. Kidneys filter the blood and remove toxins, digestion by-products and other harmful compounds from our blood stream, to be excreted as urine (10). Being sufficiently hydrated means blood flows more freely and easily to the kidneys and supports their function, helping to dilute these toxins, and makes expelling them through urine safer and easier.
As for the Liver, by night, it works hard to detoxify our entire body from any harmful ingredients and food products that we ingest. If we allow ourselves to become dehydrated on a regular basis, we risk permanently damaging our liver(11, as reported by Thehealthy.com, here.
- Detoxify and cleanse: your skin.
Our skin keeps no secrets. If we are tired, not sleeping well, or not eating well, the skin tends to reveal it. Our skin reveals our habits, including those regarding water. Dehydration can cause the skin to appear dull, and cause flakiness and dryness. A well-hydrated body translates into a glowing healthy skin. (12)
As reported by Forefrontdermatology.com, here, “A 2007 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science took an in-depth look at the effects of long-term water intake on skin health. The study found that drinking 2.25 liters (9.5 cups) of water every day for four weeks altered skin density and thickness.
- Blood circulation and energy levels.
Staying optimally hydrated affects our blood circulation and in turn, our energy levels. A well-hydrated body has smooth circulation and that means a well nourished and well charged muscular system and an alert brain. What’s more, cells rely directly on water as a medium and active surface for their internal workings, and one can easily see the relationship between water, hydration and energy levels.
- Weight loss helper.
Drinking enough water can aid in weight loss, and even help prevent or reduce weight gain, in multiple ways (14). For starters, drinking water can quench our thirst, and in turn affects our appetite. What many people don’t realize is that we often confuse our thirst for hunger, and staying sufficiently hydrated, has shown a reduction in consumed calories for adults (14). Another way water aids in weight loss, is by inducing a thermogenic effect, (14) causing our metabolic rate and calorie expenditure to spike after drinking water. Staying hydrated also means the body is able to flush out toxins, harmful substances, which in turn reduces inflammation and reduces water retention, which aids in weight loss.
- Protecting joints and muscular tissue through hydration.
Our joints and skeletal system rely on malleable tissue to move easily and correctly. That tissue in turn relies on water, to keep it fluid and properly functional. Dehydration can directly affect our joints and muscle tissue, causing our joints to become stiff. Water also helps in flushing out toxins and residual substances from these tissues, which would otherwise lead to pain and inflammation, as well as inflammatory diseases such as gout. (15)
These 8 benefits of drinking water only go to show and highlight the importance of water: in detoxing and cleansing our bodies, in aiding circulation and flow, in keeping our brains alert and focused, and keeping our metabolism running and our energy elevated. Clean and fresh, it’s the enabler of life, and as it appears, it safeguards it as well. So, grab a cold clear glass of H2O, and drink up!