Aqua. Water. H2O. Whatever you call it this elixir of life is one of our body’s most valuable friends. It’s no wonder, since 60% of your body is made up of the stuff, that the health benefits of this commonplace liquid are many and varied. Adults lose almost 12 cups water from their bodies every day though soles of their feet, through breathing, sweating, and, of course, urination. Though the 8 by 8 rule (that’s eight glasses of water, eight ounces a day) is usually adequate, an athletic person can need up to 2/3 ounce per pound which is 14 8-ounce glasses a day for a 160-pound person. Read on to get to know some of the other reasons keeping your water intake up can lead to a healthier you.
Great For The Skin
Your skin, also known as the largest organ in your body, is comprised of tons of cells, and those cells are mostly made up of water. Your skin and its cells hold in fluids, so we don’t lose them. When we don’t get enough water, or are dehydrated, our skin can turn dry and wrinkled. Though it does reach the skin last, drinking water and applying a moisturizer right after a shower, helps lock in the body’s natural moisture. Many cultures, such as those in Eastern Europe, also have long-established traditions, like bathhouses or steam rooms to help detoxify and tighten skin using water.
Keeping Muscles Strong
Muscle cells need to maintain a correct balance of electrolytes and fluids, and when this balance is upset the electrolytes can wither, causing muscle fatigue. When you exercise, it is very important to maintain a correct intake of water and fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you should drink 17 ounces of fluid two hours before you exercise. During exercise, they advise to drink regularly throughout the time you are exerting yourself in order to replace all those fluids lost though sweating
Get That Weight Down
Drinking water can help people lose weight for a number of reasons. One reason is that choosing water (at zero calories) over calorie-rich beverage like soda or coffee with sugar added can cut down on the total calories consumed each day. Drinking water can also reduce hunger, as studies have shown that drinking a couple of glasses 20 minutes before a meal can make us feel more full.
Getting Digestion On Track
Keeping hydrated is key in helping the body absorb the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Water keeps things moving though our bodies and its gastrointestinal tract, preventing constipation and irregularity. If your body does not get enough water, it can pull it from your stools in order to keep itself hydrated.
Helping Kidney Function
Since our kidneys process up to 200 quarts of blood every day, and are responsible for cleansing and getting rid of toxins in your body, it is critical to keep them happy. By drinking enough water we can keep our kidneys healthy and our urine clear and clean. People who chronically drink too little, and are dehydrated, can be at higher risk for symptoms like kidney stones.
Eli Madrone is a freelance health and science writer in the Pacific Northwest. He learned about the health benefits of drinking water from Portland dentist Dr. Derek Conklin at Mountainside Family Dentistry