Most people are well aware of the fact that they need to drink water, but have you ever stopped and wondered, “Why?” If you haven’t, you probably are now, so here are six important reasons you need to be drinking plenty of water every day.
Water and the Human Body
Your body by weight is made up of more than half water. In fact, water is a component in every tissue, organ, and cell in your body. Likewise, most of the chemical reactions, including those involved in digestion, metabolism, and respiration, all require water. Without adequate hydration, your intestines and kidneys would not be able to effectively rid your body of waste. To put it mildly, life could not go on without water in some form – your body simply could not function.
You can think of water as a nutrient your body needs. It is present in other liquids, water itself, as well as foods. Each of these forms of water are essential to replace the large amounts of water you lose naturally daily. Fluid loss occurs constantly through evaporation, respiration, urination, and defecation. To maintain a high level of health, you need to replenish this loss daily.
If your intake is not equivalent to your output of water, you’ll quickly become dehydrated. Several factors can accentuate fluid loss, including warm climates, vigorous exercise, high altitude, and even age. But what are the specific ways water serves your body? Here are six primary reasons your body relies on water to function.
1. Maintain Your Balance of Bodily Fluids
Water is a component of all of the fluids in your body, and these fluids aid in digestion, absorption, circulation, salivation, and transportation of nutrients as well as regulation of temperature. Your brain communicates with your kidneys to control how much fluid you release as urine or retain as reserves in your body. If you are low on fluids, your brain will trigger your thirst mechanism. If you ignore those cues of thirst, you could become dehydrated and experience a number of negative side effects such as very quickly. Here in Colorado, dehydration can be a major contributor to altitude sickness.
2. Control Your Calorie Intake
Water has been considered a component of a healthy diet for years. While the water itself does not have any magical qualities, it does benefit your efforts in a few important ways. Water is a more sensible choice than other high-calorie beverages, as it can help trim your overall caloric intake. Likewise, food that has a high water content tend to looks larger and keep you fuller than low water foods. These water-rich foods include fruits, veggies, soups with a broth base, oatmeal, and beans.
3. Increase Energy in Your Muscles
Cells lacking in fluids and electrolytes shrivel – a phenomenon that can contribute to muscle fatigue. Without adequate fluids, the muscles just don’t work as well. Drinking enough fluid when you are exercising or otherwise physically active is important. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines suggest that you drink at least 17 fluid ounces about two hours prior to exercise. Then begin drinking fluids early and drink them at regular intervals to offset any fluid your body is losing in the form of sweat.
4. Maintain Healthy Skin
Your skin is also largely made up of water and acts as a barrier to prevent fluid loss from your body. Sufficient hydration isn’t necessarily a miracle wrinkle remover, but dehydrated skin is more wrinkled and dry. Make sure you are providing your body with adequate hydration, and your kidneys will do the rest.
5. Improve Your Kidney Function
Your bodily fluids assist in carrying the waste products out of your cells. The most aggressive toxicant in your body is blood urea nitrogen. This component is a water-soluble waste that normally passes through the kidneys to be eliminated through urine. As long as you are adequately hydrated, your kidneys typically do an effective job at cleansing and ridding your body of toxins.
If you are properly hydrated, your urine should easily flow, have a light color, and no smell. If you are not getting enough water, however, your urine will appear darker, more concentrated, and more odorous because your kidneys are trapping any excess fluid for other bodily functions.
6. Maintain Proper Bowel Processes
Being adequately hydrated also helps move waste through your gastrointestinal tract, preventing constipation. If you are dehydrated, your colon begins drawing water from your stool to maintain fluid levels in your body, resulting in constipation.
Drinking plenty of water is obviously important in a healthy, balanced lifestyle. If you think you may not be getting enough water, you can increase your intake by including a beverage with each snack or meal that you have, choosing beverages that you like, eating more fruits and vegetables, and keeping a bottle of water with you wherever you are.