The very first rule of health and nutrition is to drink enough water daily so that we can stay hydrated. Our bodies need to stay well-balanced so that we can function optimally and stay healthy. Drinking water daily helps to maintain the balance of the fluids in our body, after all, our bodies are made up of about 60% water: that is a lot of water that needs to be maintained. The fluid in our body helps digestion, circulation, absorption of nutrients, saliva creation, nutrient transport, and management of the body’s temperature. The fluids in our body are crucial to maintaining our overall health, therefore more people should be monitoring their daily intake of water.
About 70% of water covers the earth’s surface. Water is abundant, and it can be found naturally in many safe-to-drink sources around the world. Maybe because water is so abundant, it is not at the top of the daily priority list. With so many benefits, and with it being key to our overall health, it really should feature as a priority for consumption. We know that we need to stay hydrated by drinking water, but there is a lot more natural goodness in that glass of water than you may actually know. So, what is the benefits of drinking water? This article will take through some of the benefits you may already know, but it will focus on the not so obvious benefits too.
Immunity and Illness
When we are sick and experience fever, our bodies lose water. If you are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea then your body may be losing fluids even more quickly and you may not be able to replenish your system at the same rate as the loss; this causes dehydration. This means you need to increase your intake of water to restore your body’s level of hydration and enable your body to fight off the illness. If you become dehydrated whilst ill, it will only make your condition more severe, and possibly life-threatening.
Our bodies have an extensive drainage network that helps to regulate and maintain our bodily fluid, it also defends our bodies against infections: this system is called the lymphatic system. This intricate system is responsible for the production of immune cells called (lymphocytes), monocytes, and plasma cells that produce our antibodies. Water is found in the lymphatic system and thus forms part of your body’s immune system and helps you fight off illness.
Protection of our tissues
I feel irritable when my eyes, nose, or mouth get dry. This is normally the first indication that my body uses to tell me that I need to replenish it with a large glass of water. Drinking water daily helps to keep our tissues in our body moist, this is because water forms saliva and mucus. Saliva and mucus are the fluids that help keep your nose, mouth, and eyes moist and prevents friction and damage. Saliva also helps us to digest our food.
Prevent back pain
Have you ever experienced back pain on some of the hottest days of Summer? Not drinking enough water, especially during hot weather or exercise, can cause back pain. Our spines are made up of vertebrae, between each vertebra is a disc. The discs act as a shock absorber that protects the spine from damage during physical activities. During the day our spinal discs lose water, if this water is not replenished then the inner core of the disc shrinks and it loses its shock-absorbing ability, this causes pain and may even promote wear and tear of the discs. This may cause further health complications down the line.
The synovial fluid in our body consists mainly of water. This is the fluid that directly lubricates your joints and keeps them flexible. The synovial fluid reduces friction between all of our joints and helps to maintain healthy tissue, it also prolongs the health of our joints, especially as we get older. Water adds another benefit of helping to build muscle tissue which further protects our joints.
Migraines and headaches
I suffer frequently from migraines, maybe it is all the soda I have been drinking instead of the water I should be drinking! Studies have shown that dehydration is a common cause of migraines and tension headaches; eliminate the dehydration and keep up your daily intake of water. Drinking water has been shown to ease headaches in dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours. When you become dehydrated, your brain tissue loses water, this is what causes your brain to shrink and pull away from your skull. Pain receptors are triggered, giving you that awful headache. Remember, pain (in any form) is no different than the red light showing up on your car’s dashboard. When you see the red light, you stop and attend to the problem. Pain is your bodies way of telling you “stop and attend to the problem”, and you can most likely start with a good glass of water.
The Coronavirus has been sweeping the world off its feet and has left many with increased anxiety. Reach for some water the next time you are feeling anxious, it has been shown to have natural calming properties because it reduces dehydration of the brain and body. Dehydration adds unnecessary stress to your body, when your body is stressed you may experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, so stay hydrated, especially if you are anxiety-prone! Even if you do not experience anxiety, drinking enough water helps you feel relaxed.
Drinking water can stimulate your metabolism and energy expenditure. If our metabolism is boosted, and our body uses more of its own energy (from the fat stored in our bodies), then we have a natural helping hand with our weight management. Drinking water helps to stimulate thermogenesis in our body i.e. heat production. This is especially the case if you drink chilled water because your body must use more energy to warm the fluid to body temperature. The more energy you use, the faster your metabolism. Drinking a glass of water before meals can also help prevent you from overeating because you will feel full or satiated. It is a great natural appetite suppressant without taking any harmful pills.
If you are drinking water to promote weight loss naturally, then avoid water with artificial flavoring: this will only add to your calorie intake. Rather, drink water that has lemon and mint added to it or try adding some cucumber to your water if you want to detoxify too.
Our body needs to flush out unwanted waste, this includes the removal of faeces, toxins, and urine. If our body is dehydrated, then this function becomes impaired and may cause constipation, bloating, and damage to our kidneys. Water helps the kidneys to filter toxins and waste products, it also helps the kidneys to retain essential nutrients and electrolytes. Water aids digestion by keeping waste products moving, it softens and loosens our stools and prevents indigestion. If you have ever experienced a urinary tract infection, then you will understand how important it is to have enough water to facilitate urine production and to flush out any harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
Our intestines absorb the water we drink, the water is then circulated throughout our body in our blood. Our blood is 90% water and is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to the cells of our body, it also helps remove waste products in the same way. Without oxygen, our cells will not function correctly, and they will die. Oxygen helps our body to perform all the necessary functions that keep us alive. Depriving our bodies of water deprives our cells of crucial oxygen. Adequate water intake will also allow for proper mineral and vitamin absorption – all of which form part of maintaining a healthy body and mind.
Improved skin health
Studies have shown that drinking an adequate amount of water can give you healthier, more radiant-looking skin. Remember, water flushes out toxins from our body. When we sweat, our body is flushing out toxins, including those found in the skin, this helps eliminate skin irritation caused by bacteria. Since our skin is our body’s largest organ, it needs water to keep the tissues moist, and more blood is needed to carry oxygen to the cells: this means it needs water to keep the skin rejuvenated and healthy. If you are dehydrated, your skin will become dry, tight, and flaky: you may experience dry skin conditions as a result. If you prolong your skin to minimal water intake, then you may be adding some extra wrinkles since your skin will lose its elasticity.
The natural approach to a happy ending
If you want to enjoy all the above benefits, plus many more that we have not mentioned, then the recommended daily intake of water is 6-8 glasses a day. If the weather is hot, or if you are exercising then be sure to increase your daily intake to supplement the water you are losing through sweating. Drinking tea and milk will add to your daily water intake but if you want to stay as natural as possible, rather consume distilled water since it contains no pollutants or contaminants, this will also maximize the health benefits. Purified water is not ideal because it does not contain any vital minerals that your body needs, and carbonated water has been shown to leech calcium from your bones which can lead to osteoporosis. If the taste of distilled water or hydrogen water is not appetizing then add some freshly cut fruit to infuse some flavor naturally.
Leave a comment below on how water as a natural approach has helped you in other ways.
Until next time