You know you need water to survive and you feel better when you drink it regularly, but what’s really at play in the body when you drink H2O? Our body weight is actually about 60 percent water. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion; it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. The amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors. The climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems all affect recommended intake.
What is water?
Water is a colorless liquid composed of hydrogen and oxygen. It is vital for life, although it supplies no calories. Drinking adequate amounts of water, or staying hydrated, is the first rule of health and nutrition. Our bodies can supposedly last weeks without food, yet just a few days without water. This makes sense since we are made up of water and that being dehydrated can affect us both physically and mentally.
The benefits of water
The exact nutritional composition of your glass of water depends on its source. Mineral and spring water, which are typically derived from underground reservoirs and springs, may provide additional nutrients in the form of minerals like calcium and magnesium. H2O has multiple benefits including the following:
-Aid weight maintenance: The brain can’t actually tell the difference between hunger and thirst, so often we mistake thirst as a ‘sugar craving’. The next time you feel the need for something sweet, try a glass of water first! Staying hydrated may also help with weight maintenance. Research has shown that having water before a meal may fill you up more and therefore promote weight loss through suppressing your appetite.
-Improve memory and mood: Research has shown that even mild dehydration may impair memory and mood in everyone from children to the elderly. Hydration impacts the brain, as well as the body, and even mild dehydration may have a negative impact on headache or migraines in some people.
-May prevent constipation & support the urinary system: Water helps to ‘keep things moving’ in the digestive system. There is some evidence that fizzy water may help with constipation. Poor hydration may increase the risk of developing, or the recurrence of kidney stones. Studies have shown that drinking lots of water may reduce the risk of bladder infections, urinary tract infections and cystitis in women.
-Improve exercise performance: There has been a lot of research into the effects of hydration or dehydration in athletes, and the results all conclude that dehydration not only affects sports performances but also physiological function too.
How to recognize dehydration
While not drinking enough fluids is one of the main causes of dehydration, there are other factors when it comes to staying properly hydrated. Your body needs more than just plain
water, it needs a balance of electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, to avoid dehydration. That’s because the fluid in your body isn’t just made of water-it also contains electrolytes that help support muscle movement and promote water retention. When you don’t get enough water or electrolytes, the signs of dehydration may set in. Here are the most common signs:
- Fatigue- Not drinking enough water can cause an overall fluid loss in the body. This fluid loss can lead to a decrease in blood volume that puts excess pressure on the heart to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the organs, including the muscles. Lack of water can cause you to experience periods of fatigue and low energy as your body tries to function without enough water.
- Bad breath- Water is essential for saliva production and helps rinse away bacteria so you can maintain healthy teeth and gums. Lack of water inhibits saliva production and causes bacteria to build up on the tongue, teeth, and gums, contributing to bad breath.
- Poor skin health- Water hydrates and plumps skin cells to make your skin look brighter, vibrant, and more youthful. However, lack of water can cause skin to lose its plumpness and elasticity-leading to dryness, flakiness, fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Water even helps reduce acne and other skin problems by flushing harmful toxins from the body.
- Frequent illness- Water helps flush toxins, waste, and bacteria from the body to fight disease and infection as well as strengthens your immune system so you become sick less frequently.
- Other signs may include- Rapid heart rate, excessive thirst, low blood pressure, dizziness, irritability and confusion, decreased urination, lightheadedness and fatigue, dark urine, nausea or headaches.
There are some drastic effects from dehydration, yet some people still barely drink any water. When these water-phobic people do drink, they might drink only beverages like soda or fruit juice. While you will get some water and hydration from these things and you can get water from certain water-enriched foods, you should still make hydration from plain water a priority!