We’ve always known that hydration and drinking water is important. But have you ever considered ‘why?’ or just how many important functions water plays a crucial role in?
One of the most important, and easiest things to keep in mind to stay fit and healthy is to have an adequate intake of water. We constantly underestimate, or are not even aware of the benefits and effects it can have, if we just drink an adequate amount of water.
Having said that, there is no measure as to how much water consumption is adequate. It depends on various factors like gender, weight, lifestyle, metabolism, anatomy, etc etc. One can find various measures on different websites saying “x” amount of water should be consumed for “y” amount of weight, or a website which has calculations based on weight and height and maybe considering various other factors. It is important to note that these are just recommendations, and none of them are perfect or 100% effective.
You know better than anyone about how much water you should be, or are capable of drinking. There are also people who will tell you that our body is smart, and we should drink water only when thirsty. Although this is true, our body can be thrown off balance due to various other factors.
For example, consumption of alcohol initially tricks the body into thinking there is an intake of fluids, however it eventually leads to dehydration. Another example is excessive eating, or overeating. Always having a full stomach will not make you excessively thirsty, and will make you not want to consume water, cause there is basically no place for it.
Hence it is okay to follow these recommendations, but you should always listen to your body, and reduce/increase intake based on your comfort.
Where on one hand, how much water to drink is subjective, drinking inadequate water can be very easy to spot. A simple indicator regarding drinking inadequate water is the color of your urine. If the color of your urine is like water or upto light/pale yellow, your water intake is adequate. However, the darker the shade of urine, the more water you need to consume.
Advantages of drinking adequate water
1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids.
Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol. Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration.
2. Water Can Help Control Calories.
For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake.
Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
3. Water Helps Energize Muscles.
Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes contract, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer. Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising.
4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good.
Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.
“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” he says. “But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.”
5. Water Helps Your Kidneys.
Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. The kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate.
When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function.
Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation.
“Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.