Maintaining an appropriate level of hydration in the human body is critical to our health.
Here are the ways that our water consumption contributes to our overall health and well being.
When many people are asked what they had to drink throughout the day, their answer usually does not include at least 6 cups of water. The usual beverages an adult in the U.S. consume are coffee, juice, and soda. Although these do provide some nutritional benefits (except for soda), they can be unhealthy and dehydrating. Water is vital for the body to function and several health problems are caused by the underlying issue of being dehydrated.
Your body is about 70% water, believe it or not.
It is needed to regulate blood flow (blood is mostly water) of nutrients and oxygen to organs, cells, and tissues throughout the body. This is why we feel tired when we’re dehydrated because our body is not able to utilize its oxygen. Water is a means of controlling body temperature, removing waste, and providing protection for joints and organs. When the body becomes dehydrated, all of these functions are compromised.
You lose more water than you think throughout the day.
It is lost through urination, respiration, and perspiration. Active individuals need to drink more water than sedentary people do because they lose more through perspiration and need it to keep their muscles moving and strong. Water should be consumed with coffee and alcohol because they are diuretics. A diuretic is a drug that elevates the rate of urination. You might think that these beverages are increasing your energy levels but they will eventually wear off and cause you to crash, where as water provides you with ongoing energy that will not wear off if you keep consuming it.
Drinking water throughout the day before you feel thirsty is a good way to maintain hydration.
Just because you do not feel thirsty doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep providing yourself with water, because once you do have the thirst sensation your body is probably already dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include a dry mouth, tiredness, thirst, dry skin, headache, constipation, dizziness and light headedness. Other signs include pains in joints and muscles and lower back pain. Usually these symptoms can be curved simply by drinking water and replenishing your body with electrolytes.
Mild dehydration can lead to severe dehydration is nothing is done to curve it.
Symptoms of severe dehydration include extreme thirst, irritability and confusion, lack of sweating, little or no urination, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and fever. One who has this problem must seek medical attention and be hooked up to an IV to bring their body back to normal.
A diet rich in nutritious foods contributes to water consumption.
Fruits and vegetables are made up of mostly water. Whole grains, meat, and dairy products also contain water. Milk, herbal teas and 100% fruit and vegetable juices are beverages that will definitely contribute to your water consumption. However, some drinks contain a high amount of sugar that should be limited which is why drinking plain H2O is the best choice to make.
Water is one of the best weight loss tools.
It is known that if you drink a cup or two before meals, you will consume less because you will feel full quicker. Water should not be substituted for food though, because it does not contain any calories or nutrients. Believe it or not, thirst and hunger sensations are hard to distinguish. Hunger can be mistaken for thirst in many instances. If you feel hungry at a random part of the day, drink water first and then assess your hunger needs.
Not everyone has to consume the same amount of water.
We all have different body types and lifestyles which determine how much water we need to drink. Females generally need less water than men do, and large individuals need more than small individuals. A common “rule” to follow daily is the 8 x 8 rule, meaning that you should try to consume eight eight ounce glasses a day. You may need more or less depending on certain circumstances like body type, diet and lifestyle. The best way to determine the exact amount necessary for you is by seeing a doctor. If you have trouble remembering to drink water during the day, carry a refillable water bottle with you everywhere. That way, you can refill it when it’s empty and take a sip whenever you think about it or see it (hopefully often!).
Water isn’t always the tastiest or more desirable beverage, but its health benefits definitely outweigh any other drink.