Did you know the human body is nearly 60 percent water, but that we constantly lose water through breathing, urination, and sweating? That’s why it’s so important to drink water throughout the day. If we lose more than we take in, we risk becoming chronically dehydrated.
Here’s the truth: our body senses it’s thirsty long after it actually needs water. So when you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. And being dehydrated can cause you to lose energy, experience stomach and joint pain, and even become constipated.
The best way to prevent these symptoms is to drink water throughout the day before you feel thirsty. And if you’re going to exercise at some point in your day, drink plenty of water beforehand to offset the water you’ll lose from sweating and breathing heavily.
But avoiding dehydration is just one reason to drink more water. Water can also do wonders for brain function, digestion, joint health, weight loss, and your overall health. Here are five reasons you should be drinking more water.
1. Water helps your brain work optimally.
Dehydration causes brain tissue to shrink, which means your brain needs to work harder to perform tasks than it would if you were properly hydrated. A hydrated brain helps you think clearly, alleviates confusion, and even improves your mood.
Drinking more water helps improve your attention span, memory, and motor skills, too. If you’re stuck in class or in meetings all day, bring a water bottle along with you to keep your brain in top shape. It will also keep you from succumbing to a foul mood.
2. Water keeps things moving through your gut.
Foods with fiber—fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—absorb water as they move through our digestive tracts. This bulks them up and stimulates our colons to contract and push waste out. If you’re dehydrated, your colon does not get this signal, which can cause waste to build up in your system. Staying properly hydrated can even reduce the risk of colon and bladder cancer.
3. Water helps your body remove toxins.
The digestive and endocrine systems are responsible for waste removal, but these organs and glands can’t do their jobs when they’re not properly hydrated. Instead, toxins get stored in the cells, which can cause inflammation and illness.
Drink more water to help your kidneys remove toxins from the body and prevent kidney stones. Staying properly hydrated also removes the toxins that can cause poor body odor—an added bonus.
4. Water fights inflammation and lubricates joints.
Being dehydrated causes your body to hold onto excess water and store it in the space between your cells. This causes swelling, especially in the extremities. In addition to reducing inflammation, water removes toxins from your joints and helps keep joints lubricated. The water in cartilage keeps it soft and supple so it can continue to protect your joints.
5. Water helps you lose weight (and keep it off).
When it comes to weight loss, water is a one-two punch: it is a natural appetite suppressant and it helps your body metabolize stored fat. In other words, it keeps you feeling full while reducing fat deposits. It’s a common misconception that drinking more water will make you retain more water—the opposite is true. The more water you drink, the less water your body will hold on to in an effort to conserve it. Drinking water before a meal helps you eat less and foods with high water contents require more chewing and are digested more slowly, keeping you feeling full afterwards.
Water is a wondrous liquid that’s necessary for our overall health. Generally, adults should consume half their body weight in ounces of water every day. For a 160-pound individual, that means 80 ounces of water a day, including water consumed through food (soup, the water in lettuce, etc.). You’ll know you’re hydrated if your urine is a light yellow color and you need to go frequently throughout the day.
For some of us, drinking more water is a chore. I have a plan to get you drinking more water—and enjoying it—in just 21 days. Watch for my next blog post to learn how. If you’d like to educate your team on the wonders of water, contact TiPS today.
“Improving your water intake is one simple and inexpensive step, that when taken over and over, can significantly improve your health and your quality of life.” Maria Sall, TiPS