Water is a vital part of our everyday lives and is used by our body in many different ways. It is so important that humans can’t survive for more than a week without fresh water. However, a lot of us underestimate the importance of drinking water daily and do not truly appreciate what water does for our bodies. Depending on factors such as location, fat index, age and sex, the average human is between 55-60% water. In fact, the brain alone is made up of 73% water, the lungs are 83%, and even bones contain some amount of water. Despite all this, many people take it for granted, not drinking even close to the adequate amount of water needed for bodily functions to take place properly. So, an understanding of how water helps us may encourage people to drink water more frequently.
Some of its Benefits
- You need water to stay hydrated and maintain an adequate amount of fluid in your body. Water helps in the production of sweat, which keeps body temperatures cool as you exercise. When you perspire, the excess heat from your body is lost to the atmosphere through evaporation, regulating your body at an optimal temperature. Water also prevents your muscles from getting tired as fast and allows you to have a quicker recovery post-workout.
- Drinking more water can actually help in weight loss. When your stomach senses that it is full, it sends signals to the brain to make you feel full. This reduces your hunger and makes you less likely to overeat.
- There is a strong correlation between your mental energy levels and how hydrated you are. Water is needed in every cell in your body and your brain cells are no exception. Water helps transport oxygen and nutrients to the brain for optimal mental function.
- One of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration. When you are dehydrated, the brain contracts temporarily due to fluid loss. Hence, drinking water helps in preventing headaches and other minor health problems.
- Constipation occurs when the stools in your colon don’t get enough water. When you are dehydrated, water is diverted from the large intestine to hydrate the rest of your body. So, ample amount of water needs to be consumed to ensure healthy bowel movements.
- Kidney stones are hard deposits of salt and minerals that form within the kidney or urinary tract. You need enough fluids in your system to dilute the concentration of minerals that can turn into these stones. Hence, water prevents the formation of kidney stones.
- When your skin is dehydrated, it will become dry, tight and flaky. Staying hydrated can reduce the appearance of ageing, making you look younger and fresher.
How much water should you drink?
The body constantly loses water throughout the day, mostly through urine and sweat but also from regular body functions like breathing. To prevent dehydration, you need to get plenty of water from drink and food every day. The recommended daily water intake for adults is 8 – 10 glasses of 250ml each glass. However, there is no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed daily, and the amount may vary depending on the person. Many internal and external factors determine how much water a person should drink per day. So, we must identify in our own lives whether we think we are getting enough water or not. In case you are feeling excessive thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, headaches, sleepiness, dizziness, etc., it is an indication that you are not drinking enough water.
It is also important to highlight that though drinking ample amount of water everyday is important, one should not overdo it. Drinking too much water can lead to water intoxication, which is when the levels of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted. While it is rare, this can be a medical emergency if the electrolytes in your body fall too low and too fast.
At the end of the day, we should drink an adequate amount of water as per our requirements. This will allow us to reap the benefits of water, and prevent symptoms of not drinking water.