Up to 60% of our body is comprised of water. 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. All living organisms need water to survive. Fresh water is a modern day convenience that allows us to wash clothes, operate dishwashers, water our lawns, flush our toilets, boil water, and make ice cubes. Yet, despite all this availability, the average person in the U.S. consumes only 3.9 cups per day (USDA, 2011). If asked, we could easily articulate that without water we would become dehydrated, that we need it to survive, but why then do we consume far less than we should? Why do we opt for sugary colas or other beverages if given a choice? Do we really know and understand what the amazing benefits of this life-sustaining liquid really are?
Let’s break the benefits of water down into bite-size pieces of helpful facts:
- Fluid Balance – With 60% of our bodies comprises of water, drinking sufficient water will help maintain that delicate balance. Sweating, breathing, urinating, and bowel movements cause us to lose some of that 60%, so replenishing for those very reasons is important.
- Calorie Control – Drinking water helps us to feel full, reducing our desire to eat too much during meals or snacking.
- Clearer Skin – Water flushes the toxins out of our body which causes skin inflammation, clogged pores, and acne.
- Kidney Function – Consuming enough water helps our kidneys do their job of eliminating toxins via urine and waste. Amazingly, our kidneys process 200 quarts of blood daily. That’s a lot of fluid.
- Fatigue Lifter – One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. Drinking water helps to keep you more awake.
- Pain Reliever – After every work out it’s important to drink plenty of water to help prevent sore muscles and achy joints, especially if the body is dehydrated to begin with.
- Alleviates Migraines and Headaches – Again, dehydration is a major cause for both of these ailments.
- Constipation Aid – Drinking water helps to keep things moving – literally. If the body needs more it will pull it from the colon, resulting in constipation.
- Metabolism Boost – Sufficient intake helps the body to break down food more efficiently with a higher metabolism.
- Keeps Temperature Regulated – Water has the ability through sweat evaporation to release heat from the body. This process helps to keep the body’s temperature regulated properly.
- Moisture Protection – Having an optimal level of moisture in our body helps to protect our tissues, spinal cord, and joints with proper lubrication and cushion.
- Disease Prevention – Drinking more than the minimum amount of daily water has been linked to a lower chance of developing kidney stones, urinary cancer, colon cancer, and heart attacks.
So, to ensure that we enjoy the benefits of water, how much do we need to drink? A popular piece of advice many of us have heard is “Drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day,” or the eight-by-eight rule, which dates back to 1945. But according to the Institute of Medicine, an adequate intake of fluid for men is approximately 13 cups and women 9 cups. Interestingly, it states fluid rather than specifically water. Given the vast benefits of water, wouldn’t it be better for us if we chose to make those 9-13 cups of fluid strictly water? Imagine the reaction from your body and how good you will feel!