Most people know that you are supposed to drink a lot of water and that it is good for you. We’ve been told to drink 8 glasses a day. But why do we really need it? What does it do for our bodies?
The 8 glasses a day is more of a guideline, rather than a rule for everyone. Some people may need more; some people may need less. Once you are hydrated, over hydrating doesn’t really do you any good. On the other hand, by the time your thirst mechanism kicks in, your body is already starting to become dehydrated. This is why it is important to continually drink something throughout the day. Your body needs fluid. It is constantly losing it through evaporation from your skin, breathing, and loss of water in your urine or stool. And our body uses water for other things as well.
Our body is about two thirds water. Maintaining the correct amount of fluids in our body keeps it in balance. Bodily fluids help in the functions of digestion, absorption, circulation, production of saliva, transport of nutrients, and maintaining a stable body temperature. All of these things are important for our bodies, obviously. For these reasons alone, we should do our best to stay hydrated. While all fluids that you drink (except alcohol) keep our body hydrated, drinking water helps cut unnecessary calories from our diet. If you are trying to lose weight, drinking water rather than a sugary drink like soda or juice can definitely help. Another weight loss strategy is to drink a glass of water before each meal. This causes you to feel full and eat less.
Another benefit of drinking water is that it helps our skin to look its best. If we become dehydrated, our skin can become dry and wrinkled. Water also helps keep your muscles from getting fatigued. That is why it is so important to stay hydrated during and before exercise. If your cells in your muscle don’t have enough water, they shrink up and cause the fatigue in your muscle.
Water also helps maintain kidney and bowel function. Our kidneys rid our body of toxins and waste, as long as we have an adequate fluid intake. This is very important, so that we don’t get a buildup of toxins in our body. If we don’t drink enough, we can also be more at risk for kidney stones. Fluid keeps things moving through our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. If we don’t stay hydrated, we can become constipated.
Now that you know why it is important to drink enough, here are some ways to get the fluid you need. Make sure you drink something with every meal or snack. Eat more fruits and vegetables. These have a high water content and can contribute to about 20% of our fluids. Drink beverages you enjoy. A cup of tea or coffee or fruit juice all count towards our daily intake of fluid. Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go- at your desk, in your purse, or in your car. If it is with you, you are more likely to drink it.