Similar to the way an engine malfunctions with low levels of coolant, the body can malfunction without proper water intake. If you don't drink enough water, you become dehydrated, which leads to undesirable side effects. However, if you drink more water, there are many remarkable benefits. Here are seven reasons to drink more water.
1. It's Good for Your Mind
Water, or lack of water, can influence the brain. Even mild levels of dehydration can interfere with your mood and functioning, especially in young children and older loved ones, or on hotter days when there's a greater risk of heat stroke. Dehydration can affect concentration, alertness, and short-term memory, and can cause fatigue.
2. It Can Improve Physical Performance
When you sweat during exercise, you lose some of your body weight, leading to dehydration if you don't replenish the fluids. This can alter physical performance and endurance, leading to exhaustion and the inability to regulate your own body temperature. If you drink more water and stay hydrated while exercising, you can reverse these deficits and perform at your peak.
3. It Can Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
The kidneys control water balance and blood pressure, and also expel waste from the body. By drinking more water, you support normal kidney function, which increases the amount of urine that passes through your kidneys and flushes toxins from your body. Boosting you water intake also helps prevent the buildup of minerals that can cause kidney stones.
4. It May Prevent Headaches
Have a headache? It might be because you're dehydrated. Although not a proven theory, there are certain side effects of dehydration, such as irritability or an inability to concentrate, that may trigger a headache.
5. It Keeps Things Moving
Water is critical for digestion. It prevents constipation and keeps the bowels moving by helping to process soluble fiber and fat. Staying hydrated also helps to eliminate toxins from the body, which can damage the gut by causing inflammation and irritation. Drinking more water can also aid with weight loss. Studies have shown that it can boost the metabolism.
6. It Improves Your Complexion
Health and beauty magazines are always hyping hydration as the gateway to glowing skin and the secret to flushing toxins. Although there's no evidence to support these claims, skin does contain about 30 percent water, which contributes to its plumpness and resiliency.
Serious levels of dehydration can cause what is called skin turgor or elasticity. One method of measuring dehydration is the pinch test. Pinch your skin over the back of your hand, hold it for a couple of seconds, and release. If the skin doesn't become flat in five seconds, you're dehydrated.
4 Simple Hydration Tips
How much water should a person be drinking on a normal day? According to the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies, the general daily water intake recommendation is approximately 91 ounces of water for women — from all beverages and foods — and approximately 125 ounces daily for men.
These are more general guidelines, as your environment and activity both play big roles. For instance, whether you're living in an air-conditioned environment and whether your work is physically strenuous can affect how much water you should drink in a day.
For those who find it difficult to drink more water, here are four helpful hydration tips from Santosh Sinha, MD, internal medicine specialist at Dignity Health Medical Group — Bakersfield, a service of Dignity Health Medical Foundation.
- Carry a water bottle with you, or keep a cup of water at your desk and refill it often.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, as food provides 20 percent of your fluid intake.
- Make your water more palatable by adding lemon, lime, or cucumber.
- Spread out your water consumption throughout the day. Drink water when you wake up, and at every snack and meal.
The good news is that increasing water intake is fairly straightforward once you incorporate it into your daily routine. So what are you waiting for? Avoid dehydration and start reaping the benefits of a well-hydrated body.