What are the Benefits of Drinking Water?
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I’m sure you know that water is crucial to your health, but why? What are the benefits of drinking water? What will happen if I don’t drink water? (Now that is just the little defiant 3-year old in me, lol). Ok, so let’s start with a better understanding of water in our body. Water makes up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water.
Tissues and organs are also made up of mainly of water. Here are some percentages to give you an idea:
- Muscle: 75% water
- Brain : 90% water
- Bone: 22% water
- Blood: 83% water
9 Key Benefits of Drinking Water
#1 Losing weight
Drinking water actually helps you to lose weight because of a few different reasons.
One of the reasons that we eat food is to get access to vitamins. Vitamins and minerals are vital to various body functions. Deficits in these minerals and vitamins can cause cravings in the body. The body cannot digest certain water-soluble vitamins without enough water in the body.
Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins that can only be absorbed with the aid of water. These vitamins break down with the water in the digestive tract and are absorbed into the body. Absorption of these essential vitamins stops when dehydration occurs, or when there is not enough water in the body.
When even slight deficiencies are present, you may begin craving additional foods even though you’re not hungry. These cravings are due to vitamin deficiencies and not hunger so make sure that you have enough water so that you can digest all of your water-soluble vitamins.
-Eat Fewer Calories
Water can help you eat fewer calories than you would if you didn’t drink water before meals. Livestrong had a study to show the benefits of drinking water with weight loss. The participants consumed 75-90 fewer calories with two 8-oz glasses of water before dinner per meal.
Now consuming 90 fewer calories per meal may not seem like a whole lot. However, if you did this every meal you could lose up to 28 pounds a year.
If you save 90 calories a meal, three times a day, that’s 270 calories every day that you’re not eating. If you do this every day for a week, you’ve reduced your calories by 1890. Continue saving that 90 calories a meal every week for a year, and you’ve saved 98,280 calories. 3500 calories make up a pound. In weight loss, the theory is that a deficit of 3500 calories means 1 pound of weight loss. By saving 98,280 calories you’ve created a pretty big gap, meaning 28 pounds!
On the flipside, if you were to continue eating as normal that 90 calories could be in excess. Therefore, instead of saving yourself you’ve actually gained 28 pounds in a year. All of this weight loss or weight gain is changed by only drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before each meal.
In addition, water also acts as an effective appetite suppressant to reduce hunger. The body sends out the exact same signal for hunger that it does for thirst. Many people don’t know how to tell the difference between hunger and thirst, and because we so rarely think about dehydration, we assume that we are hungry.
Next time you’re getting hunger signals from your brain try reaching for a glass of water instead. You may find out that you were just thirsty. If you eat instead you are piling on extra calories. Water has zero calories and is a perfect substitute for sodas and fruit juices as a thirst quencher.
#2 Healthier skin
Skin is the largest organ in your body so it absorbs the most. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes and increases skin elasticity. When skin is properly hydrated your skin will appear younger. It will also be less dry and itchy.
#3 Relieves fatigue and improves alertness
Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. If the body lacks water, the heart will need to work harder to transport oxygenated blood to all your cells. This will cause exhaustion. In addition, the brain is made mostly of water and with adequate water, alertness and the ability to concentrate is greatly improved.
#4 Helps in digestion and constipation
Digestion starts with saliva. Saliva is made mostly of water. According to Everyday Health, the enzymes in saliva are the beginning of the digestive tract. These enzymes help break down food so that they can be properly digested in the stomach. Without these, food would never be able to be processed in the stomach.
Water also helps break down the fiber. Water-soluble fiber is one of the biggest factors of feeling full after you eat. If you have not had enough water, or are dehydrated, digesting water-soluble fiber becomes almost impossible. In addition, water with the help of fibers improves bowel movements. Many times when you have become constipated it is because your body doesn’t have enough water to finish the digestive process. It will back everything up!
#5 Improves immunity
Water also helps in improving immunity. It helps to flush out the toxins, and pollutants that we are exposed to in our environment. Water will allow you to fight against common illnesses like the cold or flu and other bigger issues like kidney stones and a heart attack.
#6 Reduces the risk of cancer
Several studies show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. The theory behind this is that water dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with the bladder and colon lining.
#7 Protects your joints
Provides join lubrication-your joints, and spinal cord are surrounded by water and staying hydrated is vital in protecting those areas.
#8 Regulates body temperature
Water is critical in keeping your body cool especially when under hot temperatures. Also when it is cold outside hot water will help to warm you up.
#9 Keeps you from being dehydrated
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration can sap your energy and make you tired. Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and old.
Every day you lose water—through sweating, exhaling, urinating and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you need to replace this water by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. Check out my blog for the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
What about you and why the struggle?
That is a lot of benefits of drinking water right? I’m sure there are more that I didn’t even touch on. What have you noticed when you drink more water? Let me know in the comments below.
Do you struggle to get in an adequate amount of water? I used to. There are so many other options to choose from like soda, tea, coffee, sports drinks, lemonade, etc. Drinking plain water may seem to be just that- plain. Maybe you could try adding something to your water to jazz it up. Check out my blog post for all the great recipes for flavored water- What is a good way to flavor water?