Drinking water is essential for life. Without it, you’d most probably die within three to five days. It’s part of almost every process in your body from digestion to excretion.
Your body is made up of about 70% water. Each day it loses up to one quart of water from the kidneys and skin, about one cup from the lungs, and one-half cup from elimination, a total of about six to ten cups. You lose water with every breath you take, even while asleep.
If you don’t replace the amount of water lost each day, you become dehydrated. Dehydration leads to many seemingly unrelated medical conditions that can be prevented or reversed by drinking enough water.
Read on to see five benefits drinking water has for your body.
1. Improves Brain Function
Your brain produces hormones and neurotransmitters necessary for sending signals to various parts of your body. This process requires 50% of all your brain’s energy. Brain cells need double the amount of energy compared to other cells in your body. Water is what provides these cells with energy.
Your brain can’t store water, so it needs to be replenished regularly, or it becomes dehydrated. A dehydrated brain doesn’t have the water it needs to detoxify itself, making it more likely you’ll experience lack of focus, midday fatigue, mood changes, and headaches. If dehydration continues, inflammation becomes chronic. Brain inflammation is associated with ADD, anxiety, and depression.
Drinking a glass of water can improve brain function by up to 14%. Scientists believe drinking water hydrates the brain so it no longer needs to focus on telling the body it’s thirsty, allowing it to function more efficiently.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Your brain isn’t the only area susceptible to inflammation. When you’re dehydrated, systemic inflammation occurs. This is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. It’s a defense mechanism that protects our cells from rapid destruction by swelling up and causing pain.
While you’re probably familiar with noticeable inflammation such as sprains and strains, you can’t see inflammation that occurs inside your body. That’s why many people develop chronic inflammation that exasperates into more serious conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. Anti-inflammatory medications mask the pain, but they don’t eliminate the root cause.
One way to prevent chronic inflammation is to drink water. Water is alkaline and offsets the acidity in your body by flushing out toxins that trigger inflammation.
3. Prevents and Reduces Headaches
For some people, dehydration is a trigger for a migraine attack. When you’re dehydrated, your brain tissue shrinks and pulls away from the skull sending pain signals that lead to a headache. It also reduces blood volume, so less oxygen gets to the brain, again resulting in a headache. Drinking water can provide relief from a headache in as little as thirty minutes.
Lack of adequate water consumption also causes toxins to build up in our system. Our kidneys can’t handle the overload, so we develop a headache. Water flushes out these toxins. Drinking a glass of water at the onset of a headache can help stop it in its tracks.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
You may have heard the saying that drinking water before meals results in you eating less. That’s because many times, we mistake hunger for thirst. Water helps the body differentiate between thirst and hunger, working as an appetite suppressant.
When you’re properly hydrated, your body burns up to 30% more calories than if you were even slightly dehydrated. Burning more calories leads to more waste that needs to be eliminated. Water helps keep the bowels flowing freely, eliminating toxins. Regular bowel movements are necessary for weight loss.
When you’re dehydrated, the fat burning process slows down. Your body needs adequate water to metabolize stored fat. Drinking water helps your body speed up the fat burning process, helping you lose weight.
It also prevents water retention. Oddly enough, when you’re dehydrated, your body holds onto excess water because it takes this as a sign that survival is threatened. This leads to bloating and water weight gain. Drinking enough water turns this signal off and the body doesn’t see the need to hold onto the excess, resulting in loss of water weight.
5. Helps Fight Acne
While water itself doesn’t eliminate acne, it does eliminate toxic buildup that leads to your acne breakouts. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and the first place toxins are eliminated. When you don’t drink enough water, toxins and waste build up in your body. The kidneys and bowel become overloaded and the toxins need to find another way out. They do so through your skin. When this happens, you get acne breakouts.
Water is a toxin eliminator. Once you continually maintain proper hydration and the toxins have been eliminated, you’ll notice clearer skin and fewer acne breakouts.
These are just a few of the many benefits of drinking water. The average healthy adult can get adequate water intake by drinking eight cups of fluid daily. You don’t have to drink just water, soups, fruits, and some water-rich vegetables like celery and tomatoes can also help. You may need to increase this amount if you exercise or live in a hot climate.
WATER FUN FACT: As we age, our sense of thirst becomes dulled. That’s why dehydration is more common among older adults.