People tend to carry bottled water everywhere these days. Most researchers argue that drinking 8 glasses a day is best, but new reports state that drinking that much water may not be necessary. However, regardless of how much water is best to drink, no one can dismiss the fact that water keeps us alive. Water is essential to your health, keeps you hydrated, and can even aid in weight loss. The Body Reboot book discusses how water combined with a low carb diet can lead to incredible results. It may seem like common sense to drink water to lose weight and stay healthy, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t drink enough water. Not only that, but they don’t take advantage of the many health benefits that come from water. Find out just how important water is for our bodies and why it’s the most effective health method:
It Maintains the Balance of Body Fluids
Since our body mainly is made up of water, it makes sense that we need it to maintain a healthy body balance. WebMD discusses how water balances a body and keeps it running well.
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.
“Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves,” says Guest, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University.
When you're low on fluids, the brain triggers the body's thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, Guest says, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol.
Similarly, Medical News Today also mentions that water is essential for lubricating joints:
Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints' shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
Helps with Energy Levels and Brain Function
Healthline reveals just how much water helps you stay energized as well as improve brain function. Think about it: When you get dehydrated it’s hard to think and concentrate on anything. Drink enough water and most of the time you feel a lot better and your energy returns.
Your brain is strongly influenced by hydration status.
Studies show that even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can impair many aspects of brain function.
In a study of young women, fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration, and increased the frequency of headaches.
Another similar study, this time in young men, showed that fluid loss of 1.59% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
A 1-3% fluid loss equals about 1.5-4.5 lbs (0.5-2 kg) of body weight loss for a 150 lbs (68 kg) person. This can easily occur through normal daily activities, let alone during exercise or high heat.
Many other studies, ranging from children to the elderly, have shown that mild dehydration can impair mood, memory and brain performance.
ACSMs Health Fit Journal did a study on how important water is to our health and accurately, as Healthline briefly touched on above, how it affects cognitive performance. It turns out that without water it’s hard to function and if you think about it that makes perfect sense.
Water is a crucial nutrient and euhydration is necessary for optimal daily functioning. Water balance is precisely regulated within the body and many methods exist for assessing hydration status. Cognitive performance measures an individual’s attentiveness, critical thinking skills, and memory. Traditionally a 2% or more body water deficit was thought to produce cognitive performance decrements; however, recent literature suggests that even mild dehydration – a body water loss of 1–2% – can impair cognitive performance. Counseling clients about their health and wellbeing should include conveying the importance of water for normal body functioning, as well as its effects on physical and cognitive performance.
Did you know that water helps remove toxins from a body? According to BodyBuilding.com, water also helps reduce an appetite, which is ideal when you’re on a diet such as the ketogenic diet. Instead of reaching for a nearby snack, grab water instead. It’s probably what your body is really craving!
Water helps remove toxins from the body, in particular from the digestive tract. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.
In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
Remembering to Drink Water
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to drink water. Your day gets busy, and you completely forget to grab a glass of water or keep your water tumbler nearby. That’s why Family Doctor says you should make a note in your planner to drink water (it works!) or keep a glass of water nearby to jog your memory to take a sip or two.
If staying hydrated is difficult for you, here are some tips that can help:
Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water.
If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.
Other Factors That Influence Water Needs
Mayo Clinic mentions that if you’re exercising a lot, dealing with a hot climate, or are sick, to name a few factors, you may need to up your water intake. You don’t want to get dehydrated, and besides, water also helps you feel better.
You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors:
Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It's important to drink water before, during and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat.
Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women's Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.
In summary, a J. Am Coll Nutrition Journal study from 2016 summarizes how to know if you’re drinking enough water and why it’s so vital to living:
Adequate fluid intake can be dually defined as a volume of fluid (from water, beverages, and food) sufficient to replace water losses and provide for solute excretion. A wide range of fluid intakes are compatible with euhydration, whereby total body water varies narrowly from day to day by 600 to 900 mL (<1% body mass). One measure of fluid intake adequacy involves enough fluid to prevent meaningful body water deficits outside this euhydration range (i.e., dehydration). Another measure of fluid intake adequacy involves enough fluid to balance the renal solute load, which can vary widely inside the euhydration range. The subtle but important distinction between the 2 types of adequacy may explain some of the ambiguity surrounding the efficacy of hydration status markers. Both perspectives of fluid intake adequacy are discussed in detail and a simple tool is reviewed that may help healthy, active, low-risk populations answer the question, “Am I drinking enough?” Key Teaching Points • Adequate fluid intake can be dually defined as a volume of fluid (from water, beverages, and food) sufficient to replace water losses and provide for solute excretion. • Fluid needs can differ greatly among individuals due to variation in the factors that influence both water loss and solute balance; thus, adequacy is consistent with a wide range of fluid intakes and is better gauged using hydration assessment methods. • Adequacy of fluid intake for replacing meaningful water losses (dehydration) can be assessed simply, inexpensively, and with reasonable fidelity among healthy, active, low-risk individuals. • Adequacy of fluid intake for solute excretion per se can also be assessed among individuals but is more difficult to define and less practical to measure.
Drinking water is essential and combined with the right diet you can achieve incredible results. We have some good news! At the time of writing this post, we're giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book. We want you to stay healthy by not only drinking water but finding other ways to improve your health! Who knows – the keto diet may be the perfect way to jumpstart your health and make a lifestyle change! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send you a FREE book. Go over to this page to see if there are any remaining copies.
Sources: WebMD, Healthline, NCBI: ACSMs Health Fit J. 2014, Medical News Today, Mayo Clinic, FamilyDoctor.org, BodyBuilding.com, NCBI: J Am Coll Nutr. 2016
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