Yeah, yeah. You’ve been told many times that you should be drinking more water. Growing up, your mom would insist that you eat your vegetables and drink water. In school you learned about the food pyramid and how many glasses of water you should be drinking each day. Your doctor has instructed you to drink water on a regular basis.
But is water really that important? Why all the fuss? Does it really matter that much? The short answer is ‘Yes!’ The long answer is ‘If you don’t drink enough water, crazy bad things can happen to your body!’ What sort of things? Read our 11 reasons why you should seriously be drinking more water and find out!
Reason #1: To Avoid Death!
Let’s start with the most obvious reason to drink water: you’ll die if you don't! Generally speaking, the body can't survive for more than a few days without water. If you’re in a dry environment, the timeframe is even shorter.
As noted in LiveScience, your body tends to follow the “Rule of Threes”:
- You can live for 3 minutes without air, though we don't recommend trying it. In a harsh environment — say, it's snowing — you have 3 hours to survive without shelter. After 3 days, you need water or you'll perish. You can make it 3 weeks without food, though we promise you that won't be fun.
The first and most important reason to drink water is that it is absolutely essential for your body to function. Neglecting water eventually leads to total shutdown of your body and, ultimately, death.
Reason #2: To Maintain the Proper Amount of Fluids
Your body is approximately 60% water. The presence of water in your body is essential for transporting nutrients, maintaining your body temperature, blood circulation, producing saliva and tears, digestion, and a bunch of other functions.
Failing to stay hydrated can lead to significant health problems. In fact, Mercola noted that driving after failing to drink enough water can be as serious as driving while drunk:
- When you're dehydrated, you're more prone to irritability and fatigue. Your cognitive functions, including your ability to concentrate, also take a hit, and this can have serious ramifications if you're behind the wheel. According to a recent study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, dehydrated drivers made twice the amount of errors during a two-hour drive compared to hydrated drivers. Remarkably, this is similar to driving drunk!
Reason #3: To Lose Weight
Water is not a magical weight loss tool. No matter what crazy diet commercials tell you, drinking more water won't cause the pounds to literally melt away.
However, water can play a vital role in losing weight. First, you can use it as a substitute for insanely high-calorie beverages like soda. Drinking soda is basically like drinking a candy bar. It’s loaded with calories and sugar and almost always leads to weight gain.
Drinking water also can fill the stomach and stave off hunger pangs. There’s a reason why dieters have been consuming water as a part of dieting for years. The more you have in your stomach, the less hungry you feel. Consuming a large glass of water before a meal can significantly aid you in portion control.
Reason #4: To Boost Muscle Performance
Failing to drink enough water can cause your electrolyte levels to fall. Lower electrolyte levels lead to muscle fatigue which then leads to poor muscle performance. This is why it’s so crucial for athletes to consume large quantities of water. If you find your muscles flagging too quickly, it may be a sign that you’re not drinking enough water.
Reason #5: To Keep Your Skin Looking Fresh
Remember, your body is 60% water. Your skin contains large amounts of water, which prevents your body losing excessive amounts of fluid. When you become dehydrated, your skin can quickly dry out and become flaky. You’re also more prone to wrinkles when you are significantly dehydrated.
If you want to keep yourself looking youthful and vigorous, be sure to drink large amounts of water every day. If you consume significant quantities of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, you'll need to drink even more water since coffee is a diuretic.
As Randall K. Packer wrote in Scientific American:
- “Drinking alcoholic beverages actually causes dehydration because ethanol depresses the level of the anti-diuretic hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP). As a result, urine volume increases such that more fluid is lost in urine than is gained by consuming the beverage.”
Reason #6: To Keep Your Kidneys in Tip-Top Shape
Your kidneys are primarily responsible for flushing waste out of your body. However, they require significant amounts of body fluids to remove waste from your cells and excrete that waste through urine waste.
When you become dehydrated, your body is less efficient at cleansing itself from toxins. If your urine is a dark color, it's probably a sign that you need to drink more water.
Reason #7: To Keep Your Bowels Moving Smoothly
Have you ever found yourself sitting on the toilet with a wicked case of constipation? It may have been because you didn't have enough water in your system. Water keeps things moving smoothly in your gastrointestinal tract and keeps you from getting plugged up.
When you don't have enough water, your colon will begin drawing water from your stool as a way to prevent dehydration. When this happens, you become constipated.
Reason #8: To Stop Being Cranky
Dehydration can significantly affect your mood, making you feel grumpy and even confused. Plus, when you’re dehydrated your body functions less effectively, which can lead to feeling even more irritable.
As CNN.com noted:
- A small study published in the Journal of Nutrition tested mood and concentration in 25 young women who were either given enough fluids to remain properly hydrated or who became mildly dehydrated by taking diuretics and exercising. The dehydrated women—who were at a level that was just 1% lower than optimal—reported headaches, loss of focus and irritability.
When you fail to drink enough water, your body begins sending signals to let you know that you need to be better hydrated. If you find yourself in an unreasonably irritable mood, consider drinking water.
Reason #9: To Minimize Joint Pain
Water keeps the cartilage between your joints supple and hydrated. In fact, the reason glucosamine helps minimize joint pain is by increasing the ability of cartilage to absorb water. Staying properly hydrated can minimize aches and pains in your joints. If you’re regularly afflicted by joint pain, reach for water first, before you take the painkillers.
Reason #10: To Minimize Headaches
It’s a terrible feeling. Your head is pounding and there’s nothing you can do to escape it. Except maybe there is. Dehydration can often lead to headaches. A pounding headache is yet another way your body may signal that it is dehydrated. The next time you find your head throbbing, down a couple glasses of water.
Reason #11: To Ensure Your Body Is Getting Proper Nutrients
Water is absolutely necessary for circulating nutrients throughout your body. When you don't have enough water in your system you can't properly feed your body, which can lead to a variety of problems. To maintain optimal health, drink water on a regular basis.
Simple Ways to Drink More Water
Constantly carry a water bottle around with you. Keep a bottle on your desk, your car, and on your end table. They will serve as a constant reminder to drink water.
Use an app to regularly remind yourself to drink water. You could use a simple reminder app, such as the one that comes standard on an iPhone, or an app designed specifically to help you remember to drink water.
Set a goal. Ideally, you should be drinking approximately 64 ounces (1.9 liters) of water every day. If you drink coffee or alcohol, this should be even higher as those beverages tend to dehydrate you.
Add a small amount of flavoring to your water. Many people don't like the taste of plain water. A simple way to get around this is to add a bit of fresh fruit to your water. A slice of lemon, a strawberry, or even a slice of cucumber can add a fresh flavor to plain water.
Drink a glass of water before every meal. As mentioned above, drinking water before a meal fills your stomach and can help you eat less. This also can be a fantastic reminder to drink more water.
Get a smart water bottle that will regularly remind you to drink water. For example, the Hidrate Spark water bottle will track your water consumption and remind you to drink more frequently.
Drink carbonated water. If you’re trying to kick the soda habit, carbonated water can be a great alternative. It allows you to still have the fizzy taste while also allowing you to consume more water.
See, your mom, your doctor, and the food pyramid were right! You should drink more water! Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve your performance or you just want to be happier, water is the key.
Now drink up!
This article was originally published on BusinessConnect.
Not sure whether your dietary habits support your body functions? Go to BookYogaRetreats.com and join a yoga health retreat that will teach you what and when to drink and eat to stay healthy and fit.