Stay Hydrated!

Saad Rana Jul 15 2014

Water is all around us – the Earth is made up of about 70% of water, water is in our foods and all beverages and our own bodies consist of 60% of water. So if you weigh 70 kgs, 42 kgs of your weight is actually water!
Water is a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, as plain water and foods such as fruits and vegetables. All of these are essential for daily consumption to replace the large amounts of water lost each day. Fluid losses occur continuously from skin evaporation, breathing, urine and stool, to sweating from exercise and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.
Here I will tell you how the importance of staying hydrated with water is essential to your health.

Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids

Since your body is made up of 60% of water, bodily fluids have many important functions. Functions include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transporting nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. So when you are hydrated by drinking more water, it facilitates all of these functions properly.

Control Calories and Help with Weight Lose

When you drink enough water, it can help you stay full, omitting your need to over indulge in food. Studies have found that when you drink water before a meal, you are likely to lose weight faster if you had not had that glass of water. Want an interesting tip? Drink ice cold water. Since the human body is constantly trying to maintain a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, the colder the internal conditions, the more calories the body burns to keep warm, at the same time increasing your metabolism. Two tall glasses of cold water can burn up to 17.5 calories! This is by far the easiest way to reduce calories without moving your legs or lifting a weight (although you should still exercise).

Help Your Kidneys

Kidneys remove waste from our bodies, help control our blood pressure and balance fluids, so they are essential to keeping our systems running at a smooth level. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells, and the main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, which is a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. You need to consume enough water to allow the kidneys to properly do their job of excreting wastes through urine. One way to determine if you are getting enough water is to look at the color of your urine. If it’s dark yellow, you need to be consuming more water, if its light colored, then you’re on the right track.

Normal Bowel Function

Water helps dissolve fats and soluble fiber. Drinking enough water helps prevent constipation and also decreases the effect on kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products. When you don’t get enough water, the colon of the large intestine (part of the gastrointestinal tract) pulls water from stools to maintain hydration, which is the cause of constipation.

Energize Your Muscles

When you don’t maintain the balance of fluid and electrolytes, the muscle cells shrink, which causes muscle fatigue. When the cells don’t have adequate amount of fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can decrease. When you exercise, drinking enough fluids is a must. It is recommended that people drink 17 ounces of water 2 hours before exercise, drink water at small intervals during exercise, and drink enough water after exercise to help replace the fluids lost by sweating. You can even make your own electrolyte drink by adding salt (not too much though), some lemon juice and even fresh squeezed orange juice.

Keep Your Skin Healthy

Your skin contains plenty of water and acts as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, but hydrating yourself with water can help with that. However, over-hydration won’t erase wrinkles or fine lines, just improvement.

Natural Headache Relief

Dehydration can cause headaches, especially those nasty migraines. In a study on the effects of water on headaches, participants who drank water found relief from their headache within 30 minutes of drinking water. So stay hydrated throughout the day, especially now that severe heat is upon us which can increase our likelihood of headaches.

Protect Your Joints and Cartilage

Cartilage, which is the rubbery material that surrounds our bones and joints, is made up of 85% of water. Water keeps the cartilage around our joints hydrated, making sure that our joints are lubricated. It also protects our spinal cord and tissues. So it makes sense to stay hydrated to keep this important protective material healthy.

Energy, Mood and Alertness

Feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration, so the next time you’re feeling sleepy, try drinking a couple of glasses of water to perk yourself back up. Drinking water can also improve your mood. It makes you feel refreshed that it can actually improve your state of mind. Even mild dehydration has been shown to negatively impact mood. Dehydration causes brain tissue to shrink which can impair your attention span, memory and motor skills. When we haven’t been drinking enough water, our brains have to work a lot harder to perform at the same level. So the next time you need to concentrate a lot, have water handy.

Keep Cancer at Bay

Research has shown that proper intake of water lowers the incidence of bladder cancer. Urinating frequently as the result of increased water intake prevents the buildup of bladder carcinogens (substances that are directly involved in causing cancer).

The Takeaway

Many processes and organs in our body depend on water to function properly. It balances your body fluids for certain processes, it can aid in your weight loss goals, helps your kidneys and gastrointestinal tract function properly and it protects your joints and cartilage. Water can also elevate your energy, improve your mood and keep you more alert. If you suffer from headaches, water can help you with that as well. Now that you know how water is essential to your health, go drink a glass of ice cold water right now! You can even eat more fruits and vegetables, which usually have high water content, so you’ll be getting your water intake plus the good nutritional benefits of those foods.

Saad Rana

Saad Rana:

As a current dental student at Ziauddin University, Saad takes an interest in health, fitness and nutrition. He writes articles based on research through on-line publications as well as consulting various doctors and nutrition and fitness experts. When he's not writing for Health TV, you can find him studying, exercising or watching some of his favourite TV shows.