It’s no magic bullet, but the benefits of water are many.
By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Here are six reasons to make sure you’re drinking enough water or other fluids every day:
- Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. Drink water before you’re thirsty.
- Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans. Eat more raw produce and drink ONLY water.
- Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating. Drink water before, during and after exercise.
- Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. ”Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD. You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in. Stay hydrated for supple skin.
- Water Helps Your Kidneys. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.f you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones. Drink enough water so that your pee is clear.
- Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation. ”Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Koelemay. Stay hydrated for healthy bowels.