It’s no secret that our bodies are made of mostly water - anywhere from 50-70 percent. While humans can go about three weeks without food, they can only go about four days without water. It is one of the most important substances on earth, as all plants and animals need it to survive. Drinking more water is one of the easiest things that we can do to encourage good health. Here’s more information why.
Proper hydration boasts huge health benefits. It helps keep our joints lubricated, body temperatures regulated, digestive systems working at top speed and toxins eliminated just to name a few. Not drinking enough water can cause sleepiness, sunken eyes, dry skin, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and breathing, and more mildly, headaches, irritability, and poorer physical and cognitive performance. Cellular respiration, the series of metabolic reactions that transforms food nutrients into energy, actually relies on water - talk about important!
Water is also a major component of the different fluids in the body - serous (anterior body cavities), synovial (joints), and cerebrospinal (brain and spine). These fluids cushion and protect our organs, joints, and brain fluid.
It is estimated that brain cells consist of 85 percent water. The brain requires more water than any other part of the body. Without enough water, the brain’s energy supply is decreased, which negatively affects many of its vital functions. This can lead to low energy, stress, depression, or even chronic fatigue.
Water helps the body digest soluble fiber (we want a lot of this in a healthy diet), which helps make well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass. Just like not eating enough fiber, drinking too little water slows down your digestive system significantly because a harder stool is more difficult to pass. This allows toxins to stay in our system longer than they should. Elimination is one of the number one ways that our bodies rid unnecessary waste.
Water eases digestion, which in turn makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. It does so by helping convert the foods we eat into raw materials, which fuel the body and ease the transport of nutrients in and waste out of organ tissue. Once swallowed, food travels through the digestive tract by muscle contractions that depend on the presence of water. Next, the digestion of food in the stomach and small intestines is facilitated through hydrolysis reactions, which require the interaction of water and enzymes to turn large food molecules into smaller, more easily absorbed pieces. The ability of the digestive system to break down food into raw nutrients depends on the presence of water.
SKIN AND BEAUTY
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and just like other parts of the body, is made up of cells that are made up of water. Without water, organs do not function at their best. If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight, and flaky. Dry skin hasless resilience and is more prone to wrinkling. Drink up!
Water is essential for flushing the liver and kidneys, our primary detox organs. Drinking enough water keeps your intestines smooth and flexible. It also helps keep the food you eat moving through your intestines and ultimately allows food waste to exit the body. As we’ve mentioned before, if your body doesn’t have enough water, then stool becomes more difficult to pass. The elimination of waste from cells and the colon is dependent upon the presence of water to move toxins out and to help keep stools soft. So without proper hydration, the body is more susceptible to allergens and infections as it is unable to remove toxins.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR WATER INTAKE
Drink more water!
- Try carrying a large glass water bottle around with you everywhere you go. Often times, if we see it there right next to us, we’ll just pick it up without thinking out it.
- Try flavoring your water with cucumber, mint, basil, lemon, or lime. This can really help add variety and make proper hydration more enjoyable.
- Set a reminder on your phone! Let’s face it, we have our mobile devices with us everywhere now. So set a reminder on your phone every hour or two to check in with your body or try a hydration reminder app and make sure you are properly hydrated. You should be going to the bathroom every two to 3 hours.
- Mindfully recognize how amazing water is for your body. With this awareness and appreciation for everything your body does, you will naturally want to drink more water in support.
Eat your water
- Along with drinking water, you can also boost your H2O consumption from the foods you eat. Many fruits and vegetables have an extremely high water content, helping with hydration. Some of the top foods are cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, watermelon, and strawberries, which are all over 90 percent water!
- Leafy greens are also a huge source of hydration. Make sure you are getting enough in your daily diet.
- Try starting your morning with a large glass of lemon water and a daily shake. This is a great way sneak in extra hydration, along with fiber, nutrients and easily digestible protein.
Things to remember: If you exercise often, live in a hot climate, drink coffee, frequent the infrared sauna (if you don’t, start now), or drink alcohol, make sure to increase your water intake. Try an extra two cups of water for every cup of coffee or tea, and an extra 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercising.
Written by Hannah Aylward