Why is drinking water important?
Fluids and hydration are crucial for the bodily functions of humans, especially when it comes to drinking water. As you probably remember, 60-80 percent of the human body is water. However, the amount of fluid in our bodies varies, depending on certain factors, such as age, condition of internal organs, and health. Thanks to water, the body can properly perform its work (7, 9, 11).
These are some of the main reasons for drinking water:
- delivering essential nutrients to all organs;
- oxygen supply to the lungs; maintaining heart function;
- release of recycled substances; ensuring the stability of the internal environment;
- maintaining the normal body temperature;
- helping the immune system resist diseases.
Other benefits of drinking water:
- it improves the condition of nails, skin, and hair, while dehydrated skin always looks dry and may cause acne problems together with aging (5);
- water prevents urinary infections: directly, water does not improve the kidney function, it helps remove toxins, when those accumulate and start corroding the mucous membrane, causing inflammation and pain (8);
- improved digestion: the stomach produces the necessary amount of gastric juice,with the right amount of water in the body;
- lower blood pressure: the body can compress blood vessels, when it lacks water, which could lead to increased pressure (1);
- water relieves joint pain: it helps to stay in good shape and does not allow cartilage to wear out (3);
- less headaches: if the body is dehydrated, headache is the first signal. Note, before taking a pill to relieve headache, try hydrating yourself first (5).
Step by step, you can easily adjust your lifestyle to drink more fresh water. And when you notice the effect, it will be difficult to refuse drinking water in favor of other drinks. Remember, clean water can strengthen your health and make you look better.
How much water should I be drinking?
According to the National Research Council, the recommended daily intake of water, including dishes, foods and drinks containing liquid, such as juice, tea, coffee, watermelon, soup, is the following (2, 4, 9):
Adult men – 3700 ml (about 123 fl oz) per day
Adult women – 2700 ml (about 90 fl oz) per day
Pregnant women – 3000 ml (about 100 fl oz): during pregnancy, you need to drink + 300 ml more per day, because the baby is surrounded by water and needs a sufficient amount of fluid for 9 months.
Breastfeeding women – 3800 ml (about 127 fl oz): when breastfeeding, you need to drink more than usual, on average, + 600-700 ml per day, since milk is 87% water.
When to drink water?
In the morning, water with lemon is an excellent recipe for starting the stomach, boosting energy and cleansing of toxins. However, water with lemon should be avoided by people with gastrointestinal diseases (gastritis, ulcers), dental problems (sensitive enamel, stomatitis), and an allergy to citrus fruits (8). It is also important to drink water with lemon correctly: squeeze a third of the lemon into a glass of warm water, drink on an empty stomach, 20-30 minutes before breakfast. You could perform some morning exercises and only then proceed with the breakfast. If you don’t like water with lemon, do not force your body. Just drink boiled water at room temperature. It is better not to drink cold water on an empty stomach, because the body will need to spend energy to warm it before absorbing (1, 3, 4, 6, 9).
Do not drink much water during meals.
Some people believe that while drinking liquid during meals, we dilute the gastric juice with digestive enzymes, thereby slowing down the process of food assimilation. Water does not have time to be absorbed into the walls of the stomach, and the fermentation process starts. But still, it is useful to drink a little water during meals if you feel a need for it. The best option in this case would be to drink water half an hour before or an hour after eating. Others might argue that drinking water just before or during a meal causes you to feel fuller and eat less food, which may be useful if you are trying to lose weight.
Before going to bed, it is not recommended to drink water, as the circulation of the lymphatic system slows down, the fluid stagnates, and in the morning you wake up with the swollen face (5).
How does drinking water help you lose weight?
Water satisfies hunger.
We often get confused and instead of taking a few sips of mineral water, send another sandwich into our mouth.
Conclusion: nutritionists suggest drinking half a glass of water if you are hungry. Have a drink and wait a bit. Your stomach still craves food? So, it’s time to eat. If not, then you can set your snacks aside.
Water speeds up metabolism.
It brings nutrients to each cell of the body and gets rid of the waste, participates in all biochemical processes, including the breakdown of stored fats.The processes of splitting fat are quite toxic, if the body is not getting enough hydration. That’s why, adhering to a diet and, at the same time not drinking enough water, we often suffer from headaches (1, 3, 10).
Conclusion: always keep a bottle of water at hand and take a couple of sips every 15-20 minutes. Besides, if the liquid is cool (or room temperature), the body will have to spend more energy to absorb it and burn a few extra calories (7).
It improves skin elasticity.
Water allows you to lose weight without stretch marks and creases, as it largely improves skin elasticity. Proteins, collagen and elastin, which maintain the elasticity and smoothness of the skin, have a gelatinous structure and require a lot of moisture. If you want to prevent sagging skin during weight loss, drink enough water. Creams and serums moisturize it on the outside only by 20%. For the remaining 80%, moisture is absorbed from the inside (5, 11).
Conclusion: to preserve the beauty of the skin while losing weight, drink water at the rate of 30 ml (during the heat and intense training days – 40 ml) per 1 kg of body weight (4).
Water relieves swelling.
Water relieves swelling, even though one might think, it should be the other way around! However, in fact, with a lack of water, lymph and blood become thicker, their circulation slows down, and the legs begin to swell.
Conclusion: to reduce swelling, it is advisable to drink enough water in the first half of the day, and only one or two cups in the evening.
Water normalizes digestion.
Saliva, gastric juice, and bile, produced by the liver, are all liquids that cannot be formed without water (8).
Conclusion: start your day with a glass of water before breakfast, it will wake the digestive system gently.
Water helps exercise.
Conclusion: do not forget to drink enough water during exercise. The optimal amount is 300-400 ml, stretched for the entire session.
Taking everything into consideration, the answer to the question of why you need to drink water is the importance of maintaining the body in a healthy, active state, and to prevent various diseases. So, you need to drink water daily in the required quantities, as drinking water in the right amount is the key to a good mood, long-term activity, healthy skin and body and the absence of diseases.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Dehydration (1997, medlineplus.gov)
- Drinking water and Health (1977, nap.edu)
- Fluid replacement following dehydration reduces oxidative stress during recovery. (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How much water should you drink? Drink plenty of water throughout to avoid dehydration the day. (2016, health.harvard.edu)
- Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Pre-meal water consumption reduces meal energy intake in older but not younger subjects (2007, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Six reasons to drink water (n.d, webmd.com)
- The influence of increased fluid intake in the prevention of urinary stone formation: a systematic review (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water & Nutrition (n.d., cdc.gov)
- Water-induced thermogenesis (2003, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water: How much should you drink every day? (2002, mayoclinic.org)