6 Benefits of Water (Plus: How Much You Should Be Drinking)
Water is essential to life. Without it, and, well, you wouldn’t have life…including your own. How much water you need to drink daily depends on a variety of factors, but the reasons why you need to drink enough water remain the same regardless of who you are.
Here are 6 reasons why you need to drink enough water and how to determine just how much water you should be drinking daily.
6 HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATER
1. Water Maintains Your Body’s Fluid Balance
Your body is about 60% water, and water is essential to every function in your body. Functions like digestion, cognitive function, circulation, and temperature.
When you’re dehydrated, your body has to allocate its water reserves. This means even minor dehydration can cause constipation, bloating, poor circulation, fatigue, lack of concentration, and even depression.
2. Water Controls Your Appetite
Water itself is not a magic pill for weight loss; however, thirst is often confused for hunger. Rather than immediately eating, first drink water.
Second, water has zero calories. So if you’re drinking water, you’re not drinking other high-calorie beverages.
Third, foods high in water content are not only healthier than cooked and processed options, but more filling. One of the first things I noticed when I starting a high raw diet was that I was fuller faster. Not only is my hunger signal turning off because my body is getting the proper nutrition it needs, but the water helps fill me up.
Remember to eat as much raw food as possible (foods not cooked higher than 104°F), especially when it comes to veggies. The reason a large quantity of vegetables shrivels to a small bowl when cooked is because you are losing the valuable water content.
3. Water Boosts Strength and Endurance
When muscle cells don’t have adequate water, they shrivel and their performance suffers, leading to muscle fatigue, cramps, and strains.
This goes for every muscle in your body, not just those large muscle groups that fatigue when you exercise. Dehydration also causes muscles like your heart to weaken and those in your face to sag and lose elasticity.
4. Water Keeps Skin Looking Young
While over-hydration won’t erase your crow’s feet, dehydration does make skin look duller, drier, and more wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration.
Water plumps up the skin, improves skin elasticity, and gives your complexion that youthful glow.
In addition, water flushes toxins out of the body, which means fewer breakouts.
5. Water Keeps Your Kidneys in Tip Top Shape
Your kidneys process 200 quarts of blood daily, cleaning out waste and transporting it to the bladder to be excreted in your urine, and the main toxin/waste product in your body that the kidneys work to remove is blood urea nitrogen. But your kidneys can only do this if you are properly hydrated. (Remember that point about allocating resources?)
This is why dehydration puts you at higher risk for kidney stones.
6. Water Keeps You Regular
Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract, meaning no bloat and constipation. When you are dehydrated, the colon pulls water from stool to maintain hydration, resulting in constipation and a lot of unnecessary straining.
Again, this is why I advocate a high raw diet. The high fiber and water content help lift the gunk that’s stuck in your GI tract and act like a power washer, flushing everything out of you.
HOW MUCH WATER YOU NEED TO DRINK DAILY
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to individual water needs, but these guidelines can help you determine how much water is right for you.
As a general rule of thumb, I like to start people drinking half of their body weight in ounces of water per day. So, for me, at 120 pounds, that means I need to drink a minimum of 60 ounces of water per day.
You do need to up your water intake if you workout — the more you sweat, the more water you need to drink to compensate for the water lost through sweat — live where it’s hot and humid, or are sick with a cold or the flu. So you can see why I say my minimum is 60 ounces. I workout daily and live where there’s serious humidity year round.
Coffee and alcohol are highly acidic and dehydrating, so again, you’ll need to drink more water to compensate for the water lost by drinking these beverages.
In addition, alcohol interferes with brain/kidney communication, causing excess excretion of fluids that leads to further dehydration. Plus, alcohol tanks your metabolism for HOURS after sipping your last cocktail. Best to avoid.
When you’re properly hydrated, urine flows freely, is light in color or colorless, and odorless.
To keep yourself hydrated:
• Drink 16 ounces of warm water with lemon as soon as you wake up. This revs your metabolism, jump starts your digestion, alkalizes the body, and wakes you up.
• Drink 8-16 ounces of water 30 minutes before each meal. Add lemon essential oil so you do not dilute the acid in your stomach, which can hinder digestion.
• Keep a water bottle on hand at all times.
• Add cucumber, lemon, berries, orange, or essential oils to keep your taste buds excited.
So raise your glass (of H20) and “Cheers!” to a well-watered you!