Most healthy adults get enough to drink by letting their thirst guide them but the exact amount you need depends on your size, level of activity, the weather, and your general health.You may need more water if you exercise or sweat heavily.
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 lost each day. Fluid losses occur continuously, 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. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
Here are eight reasons to make sure you're drinking enough water or other fluids every day:
- Drinking Water Helps Maintain the 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.
When you're low on fluids, the brain triggers the body's thirst mechanism. And you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, or milk.
- Stay Slimmer With Water
Trying to lose weight? Water revs up metabolism and helps you feel full. Replace calorie-filled beverages with water and drink a glass before meals to help you feel fuller. Drinking more water helps amp up metabolism- especially if your glass is icy cold. Your body must work to warm the water up, burning a few extra calories in the process. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. Eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake.
Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal and beans.
- Water Boosts Your Energy
If you're feeling drained and depleted, get a pick-me-up with water. Dehydration makes you feel tired. The right amount of water will help your heart pump your blood more effectively. And water can help your blood transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to your cells.
- Lower Stress With Water
About 70% to 80% of your brain tissue is water. If you're dehydrated, your body and your mind are stressed. If you're feeling thirsty, you're already a little dehydrated. To keep stress levels down, keep a glass of water at your desk or carry a sports bottle and sip regularly.
- Build Muscle Tone With Water
Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates joints in the body. When you're well hydrated, you can exercise longer and stronger without hitting the wall. Cells that don't maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don't have adequate fluids, they don't work as well and performance can suffer.
Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
- Nourish Your Skin
Fine lines and wrinkles are deeper when you're dehydrated. Water is nature's own beauty cream. Drinking water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up, making your face look younger. It also flushes out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow, helping your skin glow. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don't expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines. Dehydration makes your skin look dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. You can also help "lock" moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
- Stay Regular With Water
Along with fiber, water is important for good digestion. Water helps dissolve waste particles and passes them smoothly through your digestive tract. If you're dehydrated, your body absorbs all the water, leaving your colon dry and making it more difficult to pass waste. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation.
- Water Reduces Kidney Stones
The rate of painful kidney stones is rising. One of the reasons could be because people including children aren't drinking enough water.Water dilutes the salts and minerals in your urine that form the solid crystals known as kidney stones. Kidney stones can't form in diluted urine, so reduce your risk with plenty of water!
5 Tips to Help You Drink More
If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:
Have water with every snack and meal.
Choose homemade drinks with added fruits for flavour; you're likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
Tea does not count as a healthy beverage. If you're watching calories, go for homemade drinks or water.
CEO, Diet by Design, Sadia Salman not only provides health and nutrition services but offers life altering diet meals which have helped over 3500 clients to lose weight and become healthy. Certified from Tufts University, Boston, USA, she has applied her knowledge and passion to build healthy communities in Pakistan. Featured in over 25 TV shows and numerous publications to her credit, she gives advice on all areas of health and fitness.