WATER - wa·ter / ˈwôdər,ˈwädər/ noun; a colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of all living organisms. There you have it; this substance is literally everywhere. We are even made of it!
Water, making up around 65% of the human body, is easily the most essential part of one's diet. Each cell in the body relies on water to carry out daily human tasks. Did you know, that the human body can survive a whopping 3 weeks without food? Yet, after only 3 days without water, our bodies would begin to perish. Organ by organ our bodies would begin to shut down, due to the lack of this absolutely critical substance. We lose tons of water daily from urine, sweat, bowel movements, and even breathing. Without replenishing this water, we cannot and will not maintain homeostasis. If I haven't made you think twice about drinking more water yet, here's 12 facts on why this amazing liquid is so vital.
#1. Improves Digestion + Bloating - Things not flowing so smoothly? Water, water and more water! Water is crucial to a healthy digestive track. Our intestines need water to guide proteins, fibrous carbs and fats through our digestive track. Without water, these foods will begin to linger in our digestive track. As food dwells in the gut, and does not continue through our intestines with ease, it begins to ferment. When these foods (especially animal carcass) ferment in our gut it causes bloating, gas, infection, pain and serious fatigue. This is mainly because our immune system is constantly fighting harmful bacteria created from poor digestion.
#2. Weight-loss - Feeling larger than normal? It could be water weight! Drinking even more water per day is actually proven to reduce water retention in the body. Once you fully hydrate your body, it won't need to hold on to all of that water anymore. Remember, our bodies are smart, so if we are not regularly feeding it what it needs, it will make sure that it holds on to every last drop it can get. Water can also aid in the feeling of satiety. Our mind might tell us we are hungry when we are really just longing for some liquids. Drink a glass of water before cooking up a huge meal! You may just feel satisfied after a little hydration! Finally, water helps the liver in the metabolization of fat. The more water, the easier it is for the liver to do it's job.
#3. Improve Aches + Joint Pains - Stubborn ache or joint pain? Try upping your water intake! When our body is low on water, our blood vessels dilate causing swelling which can increase pain symptoms and stiffness. Drinking more water will also soften and hydrated your cartilage, keeping your joints lubricated for movement and physical activity!
#4. Keeps Your Skin Glowing - Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies! Millions of cells upon cells make up our epidermis. One sure way to keep your skin firm, plump, smooth and shiny is upping your water consumption. Increasing your water intake has been shown to improve skin elasticity, which prevents wrinkles now and even later on down the line. So drink up!
#5 Prevents Disease - Studies show that increased water intake lowers your risk of kidney disease, hyperglycemia, kidney stones, bladder cancer and even colon cancer! The kidneys in particular filter your entire volume of blood every three minutes. They are constantly working to keep your body energized and functioning properly. Without water, your kidneys have no way to filter this blood. Staying hydrated will help all of your organs to continue to work efficiently.
#6 Supports Your Heart - Your heart is the most important organ of the body, because without it, we would cease to live. We need that baby beating regularly everyday! Without water, our bodies will begin to go into a state of dehydration. Dehydration makes the heart work even harder to stay beating, increasing our risk of inducing a stroke. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that drinking more water is associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease. I'll drink to that!!
#7 Improves Immune Function - Getting sick often?? Studies show that those with increased water intake suffer less from common colds. Water directly works with your immune system by flushing out waste and bacteria. No water consumption would equal no waste removal. If waste were to build up in the body, it could lead to fatigue, nausea, infection and gastrointestinal disease. So drink up and give that immune system a break!!
#8 Healthiest Drink Option - You may think this is a given, but it's not. Many people believe, "oh I'll order the green tea because it's an even healthier option than water!" False! Water is the healthiest liquid you can ingest. Unlike soft drinks, alcohol, coffee and most teas, water is hydrating! These other drinks, even though they are liquids, actually tend to dehydrate your body even more! So get on the water train and ditch the dehydrating cocktails. (PS I do drink tea often.. but water even more often!)
#9. Improves Mood, Alertness + Energy Levels - Bad mood? Drink up! (Water, that is!) Studies suggest that increasing water intake can greatly reduce fatigue, headaches, and irritability. According to a new study published in the Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, those who drink water before performing a series of cognitive tasks react quicker than those who do not.
#10. Maintains Balance in the Body - More than half of our bodies are composed of water! Water aids in maintaining our body temperature. Without water to cool us down on a hot day, or during a sweaty gym session, our body temperature would continuously raise, increasing our chances for a stroke. Water moves nutrients, hormones, oxygen, and antibodies, and more through the lymphatic system as well as the bloodstream. Without it, these elements wouldn't get to where they need to be.
#11. Improves Muscle Performance - Water makes up for 75% of our muscle tissue! Without water, our electrolyte balance is thrown off, causing our cells to shrivel up. When cells shrink due to lack of hydration, muscle fatigue may occur. So stay hydrated to ensure you are able to really give it your ALL at the gym!
#12. Prevents Dehydration - Duh, right?! Well it's crazy to think, but many people are walking around completely dehydrated all the time and they do not even know it! It is said that the feeling of thirst is actually the onset of dehydration! Yikes. Dehydration can cause headaches, dry skin, weakness, dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever and even death. It is so essential to continue drinking water even if you don't "feel" thirsty!
There you have it, 12 extremely significant reasons to always drink (more) water! My recommendation to my clients is to start off with at least 3 liters per day and go from there. Another rule of thumb is to cut your body weight in half and drink that much water in ounces per day. So if you are 120 lbs, that means you drink at the very minimum 60 ounces per day. That is before exercise comes into play. Always be sure to drink an extra liter of water post workout to replenish all of the minerals lost.