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What are The Benefits of Drinking Water?

by Patty Weasler, RN August 05, 2021 0 Comments

man drinking water

Water, we all know it’s important for our health but what are the benefits of drinking water and how can it improve our bodies? From keeping our skin looking fresh to improving brain function, water keeps just about every bodily function working properly. The benefits of drinking water are almost endless, so grab a full water bottle, sit down, and keep reading to learn how getting enough water can actually change your life. 

The Benefits of Drinking Water

Water makes up 60% of our body and our blood is made up of 90% water. It’s clear that water is a huge part of who we are. Here are the benefits of water and how it makes such a huge impact on our wellness.

Boosts Weight Loss

One of the several benefits of keeping yourself hydrated with water is that it can boost weight loss. Having a full water bottle by you will encourage frequent sips and discourage drinking juices and soda. Less sweetened beverages mean fewer calories. You can also improve weight loss by filling up with water before you eat meals. Drinking a glass of water before you eat will create a sense of fullness and help you avoid overeating.

Increases Energy

Your hydration status can really impact your energy levels. If you feel sluggish, one of the first ways you can increase your energy is by upping your fluid intake. Water can activate your metabolism which will positively impact your energy level. Make sure you keep track of the amount of water you drink. It’s easy to forget about having a glass of water when you are on the go, but a consistent tracking system will keep you in check and your energy levels up.

Improves Skin

Skin creams or lotions can make your skin look fresh and youthful but even the most expensive products can’t compete with adequate water consumption. Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin hydrated and can even encourage collagen production. When you aren’t drinking enough water your skin can illustrate that with more wrinkles and dryness. So fill up those glasses of water and drink up.

Lubricates Joints

Water is the base of so much of our body, including the lubrication of our joints. Cartilage is made up of 80 percent water. When you are dehydrated for extended periods of time, this will negatively affect your joints’ cushioning which can lead to joint pain. Getting enough fluids will work to lubricate your joints and may prevent pain with physical activity.

Improves Brain Function

Every part of your body relies on proper hydration, including your brain. According to a study published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, mild dehydration by a mere 2% can hinder your ability to complete tasks that need attention, short-term memory skills, and alertness.

Regulates Body Temperature

Humans regulate their body temperature primarily through the evaporative cooling of sweat and sweating is one of the ways your body loses water. Physical activity, warm weather, or even just being overdressed can all cause your body to sweat and ultimately become dehydrated. You need to replace the fluid losses with water. Anytime you exercise or even if it’s just a hot day, keep bottled water nearby to stay hydrated and keep yourself cool.

Increase Blood Oxygen Circulation

Your blood contains a large portion of water and in your blood, your red blood cells transport oxygen to your tissues and organs. Maintaining adequate hydration levels will ensure your blood can get the oxygen to where it needs to go.

Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones

Kidneys filter and manage the fluids within your body. When you become dehydrated, urination decreases and your urine becomes more concentrated. That concentration of urine can lead to an increased risk of kidney stones. If you are at risk for kidney stones it is incredibly important to stay well hydrated.

Prevents Headaches

One of the common causes of headaches is dehydration. Dehydration leads to a decrease of fluids and electrolytes in your bloodstream and without the right amounts of these things your body can’t function properly. With adequate daily water intake, you can prevent dehydration headaches and maintain a sense of well-being.

Relieves Constipation

One of the main culprits of constipation is a lack of water. Your intestines draw water into your stool so you can have soft, regular bowel movements. Not drinking though water will cause your bowel movements to become hard and you will eventually get constipated. If you suffer from constipation make sure you are drinking plenty of water and have good fiber intake.

Aids in Absorbing Nutrients

Water helps to dissolve vitamins and minerals to allow your body to absorb them. It’s important to drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. If you find you have a hard time remembering to drink your water, set a timer on your phone to keep you on task. Getting all those nutrients to your tissues through proper hydration will work to keep you in tip-top shape.

Improves Digestion

We all need to keep our digestion working as best as it can to prevent stomach pain, distention, and bloating. One way to do that is to drink water before, during, and after meals. The water will break down food allowing it to be digested more easily and effectively.

Builds Immune System

The immune system is a complex network that includes the lymphatic system. The lymph fluid in the lymphatic vessels is largely made up of water and transports white blood cells. To carry out its job, the lymphatic system needs enough fluids to get the white blood cells to where they need to go. The immune system also works on flushing out toxins. When you drink water you are helping your body get rid of the toxins.

Improves Mood

Dehydration can affect your mood. Without enough water, you can become more confused and tired. If you are feeling a little bit off, try a glass of water and give yourself some time to evaluate your mental state and overall well-being. 

Increases Saliva

Your saliva is primarily made up of water but also includes electrolytes, enzymes that break down food, and mucus. When you are adequately hydrated your body should produce enough saliva to carry out its tasks. If your mouth is feeling dry, increase your water intake. If that doesn’t remedy the problem, talk to your doctor. There are over-the-counter mouthwashes that can also help.

Decreases Acid Reflux

Drinking water may help some people with their acid reflux. The pH of water is neutral, 7.0; so in theory, water should minimize the acidity of the stomach. However, you do need to be careful as drinking too much water can actually cause acid reflux to get worse. If you suffer from acid reflux talk to your doctor on the best way to manage it.

Helps Improve Urinary Tract Infections

Our final benefit of drinking water is helping to treat urinary tract infections (UTI) and prevent them from even happening. UTIs are an infection in the tube that leads from the urethra to the bladder. Drinking water can flush out the harmful bacteria and keep infections away.

Side Effects of Not Drinking Enough Water

When you don’t drink enough water the primary side effect is dehydration which can lead to a slew of other problems. One of the easiest ways to know if you are dehydrated is to check the color of your urine. Your urine should be pale yellow to clear. Darker urine means you should grab a glass of water and get drinking.

If you are dehydrated, here are a list of negative side effects your body may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Poor skin turgor
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Lightheadedness or feeling dizzy

Learn More About Dehydration in Elderly

How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?

There is no one specific number for how much water both men and women should be drinking. Your activity levels, heat, sweating, and so much more play a part in your fluid status. As a general rule of thumb men should consume 15.5 cups of water and women should consume 11 cups of water per day. The majority of the water should come from liquids but this number does also include water from foods.

Tips for Increasing Water Intake

Here are our best tips for increasing your water intake:

  • Keep a water log
  • Always have a water bottle nearby
  • Purchase a water bottle with time/goal labels to track how much you drink
  • Set an alarm to remind you to drink water
  • Drink water with every meal
  • Add a flavor to your water
  • Set a water drinking goal 
  • Try joining a monthly challenge
  • Enjoy foods with high water content

Start Drinking More Water

The human body is made up of 60% water and when that number falls low it can have some serious effects on how we feel. By staying well hydrated you can reap the benefits of water and may minimize many illnesses and conditions. Your hydration status never remains the same, you are constantly losing water through sweat, urine, and even your breath. So drinking water throughout the day will always be something you always need to do.

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water#1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22855911/

Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.



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