Water is a ubiquitous fluid that is abundantly present on the planet Earth as well as in the human body. The human body is roughly 60% water, making it essential for cellular homeostasis and various biological processes that take place inside the human body.
It is entirely reasonable to call water the “elixir of life,” knowing that water is the cornerstone of human existence and survival.
Water impacts your health in varied ways. It plays a pivotal role in the smooth circulation of blood, transport of oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body, flushing out of toxins, and even maintenance of normal bowel continence.
As an added perk, it has no calories, which makes it a no-brainer for weight management. Be it flat, mineral, or sparkling, you should always give a thumbs up to a glass of water.
Sources of Water
Despite being aware of the multiple benefits it offers, drinking water is something most people overlook.
However, here’s the catch-not only as a beverage, but you can also quench your thirst by consuming foods that have a high percentage of water.
You can replenish roughly 20% of your daily water requirements through different food sources.
The proportion of water that comes from beverages varies with the percentage of water in various food items such as meat, fruits, and vegetables in the diet.
|90%–99%||Fat-free milk, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, pickles, squash (cooked)|
|80%–89%||Fruit juice, yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, broccoli (cooked), pears, pineapple|
|70%–79%||Bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, potato (baked), corn (cooked), shrimp|
|60%–69%||Pasta, legumes, salmon, ice cream, chicken breast|
|50%–59%||Ground beef, hot dogs, feta cheese, tenderloin steak (cooked)|
|30%–39%||Cheddar cheese, bagels, bread|
|20%–29%||Pepperoni sausage, cake, biscuits|
|10%–19%||Butter, margarine, raisins|
|1%–9%||Walnuts, peanuts (dry roasted), chocolate chip cookies, crackers, cereals, pretzels, taco shells, peanut butter|
How Much Water Do You Need?
Total fluid intake is the amount of water consumed as plain water or part of foods or other beverages.
The rule of thumb says that the recommended intake of water should be around eight 8-ounce glasses per day, but this view is debatable. However, the daily recommendations for fluid intake vary with the parameters of age, weight, and sex.
It increases in the case of pregnant and breastfeeding women. A breastfeeding mother should drink an extra of 750 ML/day to 1,000 ML/day-an increase of at least 34%.
The recommended adequate daily fluid intake in liters per day is as follows:
- For Infants (from breastmilk, formula, and other foods or drinks in case of infants above 6 months of age)
- 0 – 6 months: 0.7 L
- 7 – 12 months: 0.9 L
- For Children
- 1 – 3 years: 1.0 L (about 4 cups)
- 4 – 8 years: 1.2 L (about 5 cups)
- 9 – 13 years: 1.4 L – 1.6 L (about 5 – 6 cups)
- For Boys 14 – 18 years: 1.9 L (about 7-8 cups)
- For Girls 14 – 18 years: 1.6 L (about 7 cups)
- For Men 2.6 L (about 10 cups)
- For Women 2.1 L (about 8 cups)
- For Elderly >60 – 70 years: 1.7 L – 2.0 L (about 6 – 8 cups) based on their health conditions
People need to up their fluid intake when they are involved in activities that either metabolize water or can drain and dehydrate them, including the following:
- Physical activity
- On a high-protein diet
- On a fiber-rich diet to prevent constipation
- Pregnant or breastfeeding (the fluid need is 750 ml-1,000 ml per day above basic needs)
- Exposed to warm or hot conditions
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages, and food. About 80% of the daily fluid intake usually comes from drinks and the rest from the food you eat.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration means your body has lost more fluids than your intake. There are chances you might get dehydrated when you don’t drink an adequate amount of water or suffer from diarrhea and/or vomiting.
Major symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:
- Dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
Drink fluids when you feel any dehydration symptoms. Keep taking small sips and gradually drink more if you can.
What is Overhydration?
Overhydration or water intoxication is a rare phenomenon that occurs due to excessive intake of water that exceeds the excretion of that excess water.
As a result, the surplus of water dilutes the sodium concentration in the blood and hyponatremia develops.
Water intoxication is usually observed in psychiatric patients, child-abuse victims, and iatrogenic cases.
- Older adults are prone to developing dilutional hyponatremia (water intoxication) as it is difficult for them to flush out their water load.
- Patients with hypoproteinemia, congestive heart failure, and liver or renal disease are also at an increased risk.
A multitude of health benefits accompanies adequate and regular water consumption.
Advantages of Drinking Requisite Amount of Water
Here are 10 benefits of drinking water.
1. Maintains Smooth Digestion and Bowel Function
Inadequate water in the body often results in constipation as the colon sucks up the water from your stools to maintain a fluid balance, thereby making them harder and difficult to pass.
Drinking sufficient water helps the body to breakdown the ingested food. This helps your digestive system to function smoothly and keeps your bowels moving.
- Warm water, in particular, is good for digestive health.
2. Aids in Weight Management
Scientists found out in a clinical trial that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals can help suppress appetite and hence support your weight loss efforts positively.
Also, water can promote the breakdown and metabolism of fat cells.
- Always prefer plain water over high-calorie drinks such as alcohol, sugary fizzy drinks, and sodas to avoid the crappy downsides, namely, sweeteners, sugars, artificial flavors, colors, and additives.
3. Flushes Out Toxins from the Body
Kidneys need enough fluids to get rid of the unwanted wastes that can be hazardous to our health.
Water plays a crucial role in promoting kidney function by acting as a medium to flush out toxins from your body primarily in the form of sweat and urine.
Water also dilutes the concentration of salts and minerals in the urine that can cause kidney stones.
Although it is imperative to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, experts warn against drinking too much water (although uncommon but still possible) as it may hamper your kidneys’ ability to filter out waste.
Thus, it is recommended to drink just the appropriate amount of water required by your body.
- As the amount of water required by the body tends to differ from one person to another, it is usually suggested to quench your thirst and also include fluids and foods in your diet that contain a high percentage of water.
- Drinking just the right amount of water can prevent any future risks of kidney stones.
4. Promotes Healthy Skin
Dehydration can leave your blood thick and skin dry. Water keeps the skin well hydrated and improves capillary blood flow, which supports healthy and young-looking skin.
Water moisturizes, revitalizes, and adds elasticity to the skin tissue and gives it a fresh, soft, glowing, and smooth look.
5. Reduces Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections occur when the bacteria enter the urinary bladder from the urethra.
Women have shorter urethras than men, making it easier for bacteria to sneak in the bladder and putting women at an increased risk for infection.
Studies suggest that increased water consumption is associated with beneficial effects of urinary tract infection prophylaxis and treatment.
6. Relieves Fatigue
When the body is dehydrated, there is a drop in the volume of blood, making the heart work harder to pump oxygenated blood into the bloodstream. This reduces the efficiency of the entire body.
Thus, drinking adequate water can help your body function better and reduce fatigue.
Additionally, water also helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, thus preventing cramps and sprains that occur due to the friction created between the bones as a result of a loss in moisture.
- The next time you feel a bit tired, ditch that mug of coffee and instead chug a glass or two of water and see if you feel any different. If you do, you’ll know you need to pump up the amount of water you drink daily.
7. Regulates Body Temperature
A requisite amount of water in the body also helps control body temperature.
The ability of the body to release heat when sweat evaporates from the surface of the skin dramatically helps to maintain optimal body temperature.
8. Treats Headaches and Migraines
Drinking just the right amount of water can help you stay alert and composed. A glass of water can help you focus and boost your productivity. Loss/lack of fluids can trigger headaches and an episode of migraine.
In a study published in the European Journal of Neurology, researchers stated that increasing water intake helped in reducing the hours and intensity of headaches in the participants.
- The best way to relieve headaches as a result of dehydration is to incorporate an adequate amount of water into your daily routine.
9. Relieves Hangover
Frequent trips to the restroom can leave you dehydrated with a pounding headache.
Water can replenish your body’s fluid requirements and speed up recovery.
- Alternate your alcoholic drinks with plain soda water and lemon.
- Drink a few glasses of water before you sleep after a boozy night.
10. Beats Bad Breath
Frequent intake of water keeps your mouth moist, helping you steer clear of any food particles, microbes, and their smelly secretions. Bad breath is a clear sign that you may not be drinking sufficient water.
Rinsing with water or drinking a glass of water has a significant effect on morning bad breath.
- Drink sufficient water.
- Rinse your mouth with water, especially after having a meal or snack to control the odor and wash away bacteria and food debris stuck between your teeth and gum line.
The benefits that come with drinking water are quite obvious and make it a celebrated player among all beverages. It is essential to drink just the right amount of water to suit your essential needs.
Start your daily routine with a glass of water. Along with water, consuming more fluids, fruits, and vegetables high in water content can replenish your water needs.
Staying hydrated can keep your body functioning normally and even enhances your productivity.
So, the next time you are thirsty, trade your mugs of coffee and beer bottles with a glass of water and revel in the endless benefits it will shower on you.
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