Why is Drinking Water Important to Stay Healthy
We hear it over and over about our need to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water on a daily basis for proper health maintenance. But that suggested number of ounces per day goes up even more if you are dieting, exercising regularly, pregnant, breast-feeding or for so many other reasons. So just why is drinking water important for us?
Replenishing Our Bodies
Even when we aren’t warm or exercising our bodies are naturally sweating. Just think about how you feel “sticky” after then end of a busy work day. Whether you work in an office environment or in a factory, you are still sweating throughout the day. Of course when you are exercising or when our surroundings are warmer than 70 degrees, our bodies sweat more. So replenishing the water we lose through the pores of our skin is very important.
Believe it or not, you actually lose water through breathing. Yup, that’s right. We naturally lose water from the membranes of our nasal cavity and the moisture in our mouths just during natural breathing. Just think about how many breaths you take in and exhale during a day. Every breath you are losing some of your body’s water.
It’s probably no surprise to you that you lose water through urinating. But did you know that you lose water through your stool as well? Quite a bit of our water loss is through our bathroom visits, so we need to replenish the water loss we lose through these natural bodily functions.
Energize Your Muscles
Why is drinking water important for proper muscle function? Our muscles need to stay hydrated so that they do not become fatigued. This is commonly known as muscle cramps. Think back on the times you had a muscle cramp. It was due to muscle fatigue, which is brought on by improper hydration. Many times this can be the result of drinking dehydrating alcohol without also drinking the adequate amount of water to compensate for the counter effect of alcohol dehydration.
You will also often hear about the need for athletes and anyone who exercises to drink adequate amounts of water prior to exercise and throughout the exercising session. This suggestion is not only to replenish water loss through sweat. It is also to replenish and nourish your muscles so that they do not become fatigued and you experience muscle cramps.
Drinking adequate amounts of water also reduces fat levels, sugar levels and cholesterol in your body. Studies have shown that just drinking one more cup of water per day can actually result in an additional 68 calories per day. If you drink three more cups per day it goes up to 205 calories per day. That may not sound like a lot, but if you multiple that by 365 days in a year, that is 75,920 calories in just one year!!!
Drinking more water also has the effect of filling your stomach. Your stomach then sends a signal to your brain that your stomach is full. So it really does work as a great appetite suppressant as well. The more water you drink with meals will also have the same effect of filling your stomach sooner and also aid in digestion of that meal.
While drinking water can not take away wrinkles or blemishes we already have, it does hydrate the skin which means the cracks and lines are less obvious. Our skin actual does contain water and replenishing that water lost through evaporation keeps it healthy and makes for a better appearance.
Healthy Kidney Function
Why is drinking water important for kidney function? Our kidneys are a filtering organ and it needs water in order to function properly. When dehydrated, our kidneys will actually trap water and retain it as it knows it needs this fluid to operate effectively.
Anyone who has had kidney stones knows that they are extremely painful. Improper water consumption is one of the leading causes of kidney stones. So drinking adequate amounts of water will prevent the formation of these nasty stones.
All Backed Up — Constipation Problems
Many people do not know that lack of proper water consumption is a cause of constipation. But it most definitely is. Our digestive tract needs adequate amounts of water in order to operate effectively and to push food through our intestines and break down the nutrients. Without adequate amounts of water, our stool becomes harder and this can cause constipation.
Tips for Drinking More Water
Here are just a few tips I used to make sure I drink adequate amounts of water every day.
1) I always keep a bottle of sparkling water or other water-based drink with me. At my desk, in my car, while traveling, etc. Sodas, alcohol and sugary drinks do not count as water, so don’t let those liquids fool you into thinking they are a good substitute.
2) Be sure to have a water-based beverage with every meal. As mentioned above, drinking water with every meal also serves the purpose of aiding your digestion of that meal as well as making you feel full faster. If you feel full faster, you will eat less at that meal.
3) Eat more fruits and vegetables. Not the canned variety but the actual fruit or vegetable as mother nature intended it. The water content of fruits and vegetables is higher than most think. So eating these not only helps you meet your daily requirement of “five per day” but they also contribute to the amount of water you are in taking.
4) Don’t try to drink just plain water if you don’t like it. Personally, I use my home sparkling water machine to give my water bubbles and flavor it with a zero calorie flavoring. But you can also add limes or lemons or even oranges to add flavor. Plain ice tea or hot tea are good alternatives as well.
5) While coffee and tea is made from water, don’t rely on these exclusively for your water intake. They do have a dehydrating effect. So drink them as you see fit, but be sure this is not your only source of liquids for the day.
6) Whatever you do, don’t try to drink liquids that you don’t enjoy. If plain water is too boring for you, go with one of these other options above. Personally, I know drinking just plain water all day long is boring to me and I just won’t be successful at it for long if I find it boring. So drink what option of water you prefer as you will stick with it longer.
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