Heather Stover, CPT, PN1
Water is a vital nutrient of life; we need water to survive. In fact, we can only survive three to four days without water. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water with some cells being up to 95% water!
Water is essential for just about every process in our body including breathing, brain function, digestion, and excretion. If you are not quite ready to hop on the water bandwagon, check out these 11 benefits of water.
11 Benefits of Water
Aids In Digestion - Water helps to break down the food we eat, making it easier to digest.
Prevents Constipation - Water binds with fiber in the large intestine to increase the bulk of the stools, this helps to reduce transit time and make elimination easier. When you don’t drink enough fluids, water especially, your body withdraws water from the large intestine making it harder to eliminate stools and increasing your risk of constipation.
Regulates Temperature - When it is hot or we are exercising, our body temperature rises and we sweat. That sweat then evaporates and cools our body.
Lubricates Joints - The synovial fluid that lubricates and cushions your joints is mostly made up of water and reduces the friction between joints.
Helps Kidneys Remove Toxins/Waste Products - Your kidneys have many important responsibilities, including but not limited to: removing waste products from the body and balancing the body’s fluid levels. The average healthy adult needs a minimum of about 400-500mL (around 2 cups) of water each day just for proper kidney function.
Helps with Nutrient Absorption - Water helps to break down food, dissolve vitamins and minerals and bring nutrients to our cells.
May Help Prevent Headaches - Going without enough water for too long can contribute to headaches. Staying well-hydrated can help fend off dehydration headaches.
May Aid in Weight Loss - Drinking water before a meal can help us to feel fuller and in turn consume less overall calories, thus aiding in weight loss. Thirst cues are also often mistaken for hunger cues. This leads us to grab food instead of the water that we need. This can, in turn, cause us to consume more calories in a day than we actually need.
Improved Focus - Your brain is about 75% water and needs adequate hydration to function optimally. Dehydration and low fluid levels can decrease short term memory and focus. Staying hydrated improves your ability to focus and be alert.
Improved Energy - Decreased energy is one of the first signs of dehydration. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated can maintain energy levels.
Prevents Dehydration - Dehydration happens when we expel more body fluids than we take in. We typically don’t notice thirst until we experience 1-2% body fluid loss. However, by this point, we may already see a drop in performance. After 2% loss of body fluid, we will start to notice some of the symptoms of dehydration including headache, fatigue, flushing, rapid heart rate and nausea. Drinking enough water to support activity and body functions is key to preventing dehydration.
If you are having trouble determining your hydration level, simply check the color of your urine. Pale yellow to pale gold indicate you are likely well hydrated. If your urine is darker gold to brown there is a good chance you are dehydrated and should consume more fluids. If your urine is brown or red then you should consult with a doctor.
Are you getting enough water? How much water an individual needs can vary depending on body weight, temperature, if you are exercising, or sick. A general rule to follow would be to divide your body weight by two to find how many ounces you should have each day. Keep in mind that if it is warmer or drier or if you have been exercising, you may need to increase your fluid intake.
For ideas on how to increase your fluid intake or nutrition coaching, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.