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10 essential health benefits of drinking enough water

  As with most things, the amount of water each person needs is very individual, but if your pee isn’t a light yellow color, you might not b...


 

As with most things, the amount of water each person needs is very individual, but if your pee isn’t a light yellow color, you might not be getting enough H2O.

How much water is enough? Always listen to what your body needs. Since 20% of total fluid intake comes from food, here’s the 80% we need from fluids (1 cup = 8 ounces):

Women: 9 cups

Men: 12.5 cups

Pregnant women: 10 cups

Breastfeeding women:  13 cups

If you don’t care much for the taste of water, then you can add a squirt of lemon, a squeeze of lime, a few sprigs of fresh mint or a cucumber or orange slice. You can even be so bold as to add a few berries or watermelon. What ever gets you to drink it up.

Speaking of benefits, the reasons to hydrate are numerous, but below are 10 of them.

Top 10 Benefits of Drinking Water: Hydration for Health

1. Body Water Balance

Homeostasis of water content in the body is dependent on water gains and losses. Normal daily water losses occur through breathing, sweating, and urination. These losses are also a natural detox method to flush out toxins. Finally, through this delicate body water balance (which requires adequate, daily hydration), the body is able to maintain and optimize temperature control (i.e., thermoregulation).

2. Immune System Function

Getting enough water may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of immunity. It should. Higher water losses can occur when we are sick (e.g., diarrhea) fighting a bug, so pay close attention to fluids when you’re under the weather.

Hydration is involved in lubrication of mucous membrane barriers in our mouth and nose (our first defense against most pathogens), lymphatic draining, clearance of cellular waste, and transporting nutrients (I see you, vitamin D), antibodies, and much more. And 2020 research indicates that less-than-optimal hydration may even be a risk factor for COVID-19 severity and death.

 3. Weight Loss

H20 = zero calories. So, there’s that. Also, drinking more water, swapping out calorie-laden beverages with water, and drinking water before a meal are all good strategies, and the research says they can achieve weight loss. Water intake has also been shown to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, especially in situations of obesity.

4. Kidney Love

Higher fluid intake reduces the risk of getting kidney stones and also helps them recur less if you’ve had them already. And although more research is needed, some studies indicate that higher fluid intake is effective in preventing urinary tract infections (UTI).

5. Skin Hydration

The most economical anti-aging strategy there is, water intake is linked to better skin hydration and less dryness, both key factors in beautiful, youthful-looking skin.

6. Digestive Regularity

There’s a reason it’s called a “bowel movement,” because the bowels should be moving. For some people, that’s not always the case. Inadequate water intake is associated with greater constipation, so hydration might be an easy answer to digestive woes.

7. Help With Headaches

Not getting enough fluids is thought to contribute to headache etiology. In a clinical trial where patients with headaches drank more water (1.5 liters more, which equals 6.3 cups), they experienced improvements in their symptoms.

8. Physical Performance

Inadequate water intake and repletion of losses during exercise (through sweating, for example) will mean worse performance. Failure to hydrate (and repletion of electrolytes is key here, too) can translate into less blood flow to muscles, reduced cardiac output, less endurance, and more fatigue.

9. Mood and Brain Function

Research demonstrates that dehydration has a negative brain impact, specifically on our mood, cognitive alertness, and fatigue.

10. Eye Health

Our eyes have a high water content, and dehydration is associated with eye conditions like dry eye, cataracts, and retinal vascular disease. If that’s not motivation to drink up, I don’t know what is.

Water is a critical, daily lifestyle choice that supports the health and function of every cell in our body. In addition to the 10 health benefits above, water is also involved in the metabolism of the foods we consume, the transport of various compounds across cellular membranes, the balance of many different cellular activities, and circulatory functions.

We are literally made up of water. Being mindful and intentional about hydration is one of the easiest strategies to improve your health and well-being. The good news is water is free. Even if you choose bottled/filtered water, it’s still cheaper than that high sugar and fat-filled latte.

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