You’ve heard it a million times: Water is good for you. Yet despite this fact, you’ve probably blown off the sentiment more than once, whether intentionally or not.
While it’s easy to say ‘X, Y, or Z is good/bad for you’ the notion hardly means a thing if we can’t answer why. So, why is water good for you?
First, Let’s Learn the Basics
Flashback to middle school biology class: 60 percent of the human body is made up of water.
But, did Ms. Smith teach you that on any given day your body loses about 64 ounces of water through sweat alone? Bet not!
Unless you’re crushing a treadmill workout and happen to spy gargantuan pit stains in the gym’s mirror, your perspiration likely goes unnoticed. Even when you’re just sitting in a chair watching Netflix, you’re still sweating.
Okay, gross. What’s the point? Well, since you’re losing water through your pores at all hours of the day, it’s important to replenish these deficits by drinking more H20.
How Much Water Do I Need?
Your recommended water consumption is dependent on a wide array of variables, including age, weight, height, physical activity level, your sex and where you live. For example, a super muscly, athletic man who lives in the desert requires more water than a thin teenage girl who avoids exercise like it’s the plague.
Generally speaking, women are recommended about 90 ounces, or 11 cups, of fluid each day, and men are encouraged to consume about 125 ounces, or 16 cups, daily. The idea is to make sure you’re maintaining 60 percent of your body mass.
All of this sounds great, except we still haven’t answered the why. You might know water helps alleviate headaches and hangovers, but there’s a lot more to it than that! Here, we explore what some of the lesser-known benefits of H20 are.
- Brain power. Because your brain is made up of 73 percent water, drinking pure fluid boosts concentration and helps you stay alert. It can also improve memory, energy level, cognitive skills and communication. On the flip side, a lack of H20 can leave you feeling fatigued, distracted and forgetful. So, next time you’re thinking of reaching for a Red Bull or double shot of espresso, consider a glass of water instead.
- Mood boost. Dehydration affects your mood, oftentimes making you feel more anxious or irritable than usual. When your internal systems are running better, you’ll certainly feel healthier physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Studies show that chronically dehydrated individuals are much more discontent and unsatisfied in life than those who stay hydrated.
- No more pain. Hydration is proven to alleviate muscle cramping, while also lubricating areas of the body that are susceptible to sprains. Most notably, the more water you drink, the less migraines you’ll have. When the brain is dehydrated, it temporarily shrinks and pulls away from the skull, causing severe discomfort. Quenching your mouth’s thirst simultaneously quenches your spongy brain.
- Flexibility and recovery. Because water acts as a natural lubricant for joints and muscles, it’s no surprise that a higher intake affects your elasticity and mobility. By drinking more H20, you’ll be a yogi in no time! Plus, maintaining fluids during a workout means you’ll be much less sore when in resting mode.
- Weight management. By drinking more water before and during a meal, you’ll feel fuller faster, and therefore be less inclined to overeat. Water also aids the removal of fatty byproducts and naturally boosts metabolism. Over time, this can result in healthy weight loss and/or weight management.
- Detoxify. The more water you drink, the more toxins your body is able to flush out via sweat and urination. This works to prevent kidney stones and can protect you from UTIs, or urinary tract infections.
- Complexion. Because your skin is an organ, and water is critical for organ functionality, the absence of water can result in dry, tight skin. While studies show that dehydrated skin is also more prone to wrinkles and age spots, moisturized skin is smoother, softer and less susceptible to unwanted markings.
- Digestion. Drinking more water ensures your body properly digests everything you eat. Data reveals that water helps break down food, allowing the body to properly absorb nutrients and avoid constipation.
- Heightened immune system. Want to know the easiest way to avoid the flu? Water! Because H20 carries oxygen to your body’s cells, your immune system is energized and able to function more efficiently when you’re gulping La Croix. Water’s detoxifying elements also ensure any harmful viruses are more easily extinguished.
- No more bad breath. Yep, water is your new Altoids! Dehydration oftentimes causes a dry, cotton-like mouth, therefore leaving bacteria stuck in your mouth, which results in stinky breath. By giving your body ample fluids, any leftover food particles and oral bacteria can be washed away.
There you have it. From small physical benefits and unnoticed mental perks, to life altering side effects, increasing your H20 intake can dramatically impact your overall wellbeing. So, next time you’re feeling tired, grumpy or sore, it’s probably time to fill up that Nalgene bottle and get slurping!