Most of us are aware of the importance of drinking water. Some people reading this may have experienced the effects of severe dehydration, while others are familiar with the often-repeated advice to drink water regularly throughout the day. Just what are the benefits of drinking water, though?
Why is hydration important?
Our bodies are approximately 60 percent water. While there’s no universally agreed-upon amount of water that you need to drink, it’s a good idea to consume water or fluid regularly. Proper hydration is essential for all of your body’s systems, from your kidneys to your heart, lungs, and even your brain.
What are the benefits of drinking water instead of soft drinks?
Technically, you can get your necessary fluid intake from soda, coffee drinks, tea, and other soft drinks. Water is a better choice, however. Drinks with caffeine will hydrate you better than nothing at all, but water is more effective at providing the fluid your body needs. Sweetened beverages often contain large quantities of ’empty’ calories, while some teas and coffee drinks also deliver a lot of refined fat in the form of dairy. Many beverages contain other additives that are not as good as plain water. Plain water — or water with some added electrolytes — will hydrate you more effectively than soft drinks.
Health benefits of water
The first place where the water goes to work is in your mouth. When you drink sugary drinks, the sugars they contain encourage bacteria on your teeth to produce acid. This acid weakens your tooth enamel and makes you more vulnerable to cavities. Even sugar-free drinks often contain acidic flavorings that also contribute to tooth decay. Water, on the other hand, helps neutralize the acids in your mouth and keeps your teeth healthier.
Eyes, nose, and mouth
If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t make enough of the fluid that keeps your eyes moist. This leaves you more vulnerable to infections. A dry nose and dry mouth can quickly become irritated and unhealthy too.
Kidneys and urinary tract
Your kidneys are always at work filtering toxins out of your blood. When you take a drink of water, it helps to dilute those toxins so that they can be flushed out of your body. Without enough water, your kidneys can be overloaded and may ultimately suffer damage. Failing to drink enough water may also contribute to kidney infections and UTIs.
Your joints require sufficient fluid to function correctly. There is a tough, springy tissue called cartilage in your joints, which provides support and cushions your bones. Water is the best way to ensure that your cartilage stays hydrated. In the short term, severe dehydration can cause discomfort in your joints. In the long term, chronic dehydration can cause joint damage.
Brain and spinal cord
Your brain is primarily composed of water. It’s no surprise, therefore, that you need to drink plenty of water to keep your brain in peak condition. Even moderate dehydration can make you feel lethargic and sluggish. Drinking water also helps to cushion your spinal cord and other nerves.
You need fluid to regulate your temperature when you get hot, especially if you’re exercising. Without plenty of water, your body can’t cool down through perspiration.
The benefits of drinking water can be seen outside as well as inside. Drinking plenty of water keeps the cells in your skin nice and plump, preventing wrinkles and sagging. If you’re not adequately hydrated, your skin can quickly become dry and develop fine lines. Consuming more water will smooth your skin and brighten your complexion. While it’s necessary to drink water regularly, beware of drinking too much. Hyperhydration, also known as water intoxication, occurs when you drink too much in a short period. Avoid drinking more than one liter of water in an hour and spread your water consumption evenly throughout the day.
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