Why should you be drinking water for your health?
Well, water is the second most important thing that our bodies need to survive, oxygen being the first. The body could survive for some time without food, but deprive it of water and it would only last a few days. Virtually every job that the body performs requires water. It would seem then, pretty logical that a health benefit of water would be to drink it!
Here are only a few of the health benefits of water:
- Water is required for digestion and absorption of food
- Water is needed to regulate body temperature and blood circulation
- Water in the bloodstream carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Water is necessary for the kidneys to remove toxins and other wastes
The health benefit of water is very powerful, but for a long time has been undervalued. Unfortunately, we generally haven't been very well educated about it. The main point of this article is to offer a basic understanding of why it's vital to be drinking water for your health. I will point you to more information about the health benefit of water at the end of this article.
What is dehydration?
The body uses about 10 - 12 cups of water a day, through such things as breathing, digestion, elimination and perspiration. So we need to replenish it daily or our bodies will become dehydrated.
"Dehydrate" means "to lose water, become dry."
I always thought I was dehydrated only when my my mouth got super dry. Wrong answer! Those are signs that your body is extremely dehydrated. It only takes a small deficiency of water to throw the body into "dehydration mode."
"Dehydration mode" makes it necessary for the body to ration an insufficient amount of water to run properly. The body must economize on its use of water to prevent it from being lost. Dehydration can definitely aggravate many health conditions.
Improve many conditions by drinking water for health
A health benefit of water would be the improvement of many conditions by drinking water for your health, such as:
- Diabetes - blood sugar level management
- Angina (chest pain)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Joint and muscle pain
- Immune diseases
- Depression can be helped by ensuring that you drink enough water for your health.
Dr. Jenni told me that headaches are at least partially caused by dehydration. I was very pleased that the headache headache I had was reduced and eventually vanished by drinking enough water ro rehydrate myself!
Drugs and drinking water for health
If you take prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs, it's even more essential to drink enough water for your health. Not only are many drugs dehydrating (they need to suck up some water to work don't they?) but all drugs, no matter how well they appear to work, are toxic to the body. Your kidneys need plenty of water to help them flush out toxins, especially when it's getting overloaded with them.
The secret to fat metabolism
Another health benefit of water is its role in fat metabolism. The secret to fat metabolism is to drink adequate amounts of water! Why? The kidneys need water to filter out waste and toxins from our bodies. If we don't give our bodies the water it needs, the kidneys "dump" some of their workload on the liver.
One of the liver's jobs is to assist in fat metabolism. If the kidneys can't do their job due to insufficient water (dehydration), some of their work is given to the liver. You may know what it's like if you have to do someone else's work. You can't do all of your own!
When the liver is doing some of the kidney's job, the liver can't do its own job of metabolizing fat very well.
So one specific health benefit of water is that you will have more energy from fat being metabolized or "burned" - and a lot of people would like some spare fat metabolized!
How much water should I drink each day?
We commonly hear "Drink 8 glasses of water a day for good health" - but that never made sense to me. You mean a 100 pound petit female needs the same amount of water as a 300 pound athelete? I don't think so!
The amount definitely does depend on your weight. The goal is 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water. For example, someone weighing 170 pounds needs to drink approximately 85 ounces per of water per day. That equates to 2.5 liters.
There's a really great on-line calculator that converts ounces to liters and tons of other calculations, like weight, distances and other measurements at CalculateMe.com.
Things that stop us from drinking water for health
It helps if you can take a look at what ideas you have that might be getting in your way of drinking plenty of water. For example, one of my friends said that she "hated water." That would get in your way!
Actually, when you are dehydrated, you lose your natural sense of thirst. As you get your body more and more hydrated, your "natural thirst" will return. I have definitely experienced that! And not all water is the same.
Tap water from the faucet contains all kinds of stuff that makes it not quite enjoyable to drink. (I've had some very enjoyable water actually!) Tap water can also defeat the purpose of drinking water for your health due to chemical additives and other toxins.
Try different types of water and find one that makes you happy! This includes water that you filter at home of course.
Water retention and bathroom attacks
Another one of my friends said that she couldn't be running off to the bathroom every 10 minutes - that problem was keeping her from the many health benefits of water. She had also been losing some weight but was on a plateau.
She solved the bathroom problem by deciding to drink a small amount, just 1 cup, at the beginning of each hour. That helped her a lot! The addition of sufficient water to her weight loss plan got her going in the right direction again.
The body will "let go" of the water it's been retaining during dehydration when it starts getting what it needs - so going to the bathroom frequently is only temporary until the body adjusts to being hydrated.
Yes, water retention, contrary to what I thought for years, isn't from too much water. It's from not having enough, causing the body to "hang on" to the little water it has. When you drink enough water, the body can let go of what it has been retaining.
Substitutes for water?
A myth about drinking water for your health is that coffee and sodas "count" as drinking water. Sorry Charlie! Any drink that isn't just pure water has a different chemical structure than water and thus reacts differently in the body.
But some great news is that that the water in fresh vegetables and fruits does indeed contribute towards hydrating the body. Hmmm... maybe that celery is healthier than just being "low calorie!"
I have a Brita® water filter pitcher and I get a 16 - 24 ounce bottle and fill it up with filtered water 3 or 4 times a day. I've replaced tea with water now, and it was not difficult because I did it little by little and just kept at it.
I also found that it's easy to drink the amount that my body needs when I keep the water bottle at my desk and just take a swig every once in a while. And I am definitely experiencing that I really want water now, my natural thirst has returned.
Don't take my word for it, test this information for yourself! If you drink less than 8 cups per day, find out for yourself if increasing your water intake improves your health and energy levels.