Health Benefits of Drinking Water

  The health benefits of drinking water are numerous. As a result, many health professionals recommend drinking 8 full glasses (8 ounces) of water each and every day.

-Most people are aware of at least  some  of the health benefits of water.

Some may point out that drinking water benefits you by preventing the symptoms of dehydration.

That may be somewhat overstated, but it's not the only reason.

-In actuality, there are scores of benefits of drinking water.

This is why it would be wise to take a look at the various ways in which consuming good old H 2 O can enhance and improve one's health.

-One thing to keep in mind: The human body consists of a high percentage of water.

-Up to of 70% of our bodies, and nearly 70% of our brains cells are made up of water. It's clear to see that it would be beneficial to prevent any symptoms of dehydration, and we can accomplish that quite easily, by simply replenishing the water in our cells daily.


   11 Benefits of Drinking Water:

 -1. Replenishes the body's cells , and allows them to maintain proper function. Because cells act as the building blocks of  all  our vital organs, ensuring these cells operate properly is something we should all attain. Since one of the many health benefits of drinking water is to replenish these cells, increasing water consumption is a must.

 -2. More energy - keeps you cool. Drinking water benefits energy levels by supplying fuel and regulating your body temperature and thereby helping with daily living, especially during exercise or strenuous activities.

 -3. Muscle cramps and strains. Lubrication for all the body's joints, as well as proper hydration for muscles and ligaments can reduce cramps and strains - all are among the many benefits of drinking water in correct proportion.

 -4. Maintaining a healthy body weight. Among the most vital of all health benefits of drinking water is that it can help you to stay fit and trim, or to lose weight if needed. Drinking water regularly, helps to fill you up and has zero calories. This is not to conclude that drinking a lot of water will allow you to eat as many donuts as you want.

 However, drinking water benefits the metabolism, by speeding it up.         That means you can burn off more calories than you normally would with a slower metabolic rate. Cold water is even better as your body has to warm it up, burning even more calories.

-See chart for calories burned in 15 minutes

Considering all the health dangers of obesity, the health benefits of
drinking water and how they relate to weight loss is really a no-brainer.

-One reason that drinking an adequate amount of water each day will aid in losing weight is because it frees the liver of 'excess duties.' This allows it to increase its performance in metabolic functions.

How so? When you are not ingesting the proper amount of water each day, your kidneys are not properly flushed. This means they will require help from the liver.

-When your body is properly hydrated, the kidneys are effectively flushed and the liver can return to its traditional metabolic enhancing role. (Burning stored fat)


5. Water Retention. Drinking water benefits those with water retention issues. When the body gets inadequate water, it stores the water it has (water retention). This fluid retention is evident in the body as swelling of the hands, legs and feet.

If ample water is supplied, the body no longer needs to 'store' it, and this retention is released and the body works as it should. Those trying to lose weight need more water to help metabolize excess fat and waste during weight loss.

6. Digestion. This increase in metabolism also aids in digestion and helps to prevent constipation, another of the many benefits of drinking water.

7. Cleaning out the body. Each and every day we ingest a great many toxins, simply because it's impossible to completely avoid them in our daily diet. When these toxins build up in our systems, they can lead to many health problems. Among the most important health benefits of drinking water is that it flushes out these toxins by way of the kidneys.

8. Reducing Pain. One of the lesser-known health benefits of drinking water is that it may aid in reducing certain physical pains such as headaches. Also, pain in the lower back has been known to be one of the symptoms of dehydration or chronic dehydration.

9. Depression. You might be surprised to know that one of the benefits of drinking water includes mood elevation. When you drink the proper amounts of water, you discover your whole outlook on things gets better.

-This can effectively work to eliminate everything from depression signs to sleep disorders.

10. Brain Function. Drinking sufficient water every day may not cure serious mental health issues, but it can improve concentration and aid a number of the common problems people suffer from when it comes to brain activity and mental health.

11. Better Skin. Especially for the ladies, drinking water benefits the epidermis (outer layer of skin), for softer and younger looking skin.

Consider the many health benefits of drinking water: a simple, inexpensive and effective way to improve your overall health, and to help prevent symptoms of dehydration.


Symptoms of Dehydration

These first mild symptoms of dehydration generally become noticeable at a 1 - 2% fluid loss.

  • Thirst
  • Decrease in urine
  • Darker color to urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Unusual lack of energy, weakness and fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Negative mood, irritability
  • Redness to skin (flushing)
  • Chills

Moderate to severe symptoms of dehydration can be seen with only a 3 - 5 % loss of water.

  • Reduced or no urine production
  • Extreme lack of energy, sleepy
  • Increase in respiration
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Less sweating
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fainting, seizures
  • Sunken eyes

Over 5% body fluid loss, symptoms become worse still.

  • Intense sleepiness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Tingling in arms and legs

At a 10-15% loss of water to the body, all symptoms of dehydration increase as well as:

  • Extreme muscle (especially leg) cramps, may spasm
  • Skin wrinkles and shrivels up
  • Dimming of vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Tongue swelling
  • Extreme reduction in urine, urination may become painful
  • Possible onset of delirium
  • Pain in chest or abdomen

Symptoms of dehydration with a loss of fluids over 15% are usually fatal. (although very rare)


What are some of the Causes for the Symptoms of Dehydration?

-Weather. Common sense really, hot and humid conditions require a higher water intake.

-Activity level. Again simple, during exercise or physical work, your body needs more, so drink more.

-Too little fluids. Many people have bad habits when it comes to drinking water. If your job is not physical and you're not into exercise, it's easy to develop chronic dehydration

This habitual lack of fluids is not good for the body and can be very dangerous. It may also lead to hyperthermia (Elevated body temp.) and possibly even contribute to heat stroke during high activity levels.

-Too much alcohol. Drinking alcoholic drinks while playing various sports is quite common among young adults. Having a bunch of beers or hard lemonades while playing softball is not the way to stay properly hydrated.

-That headache you're feeling may not be just a hangover,
....your body needs water!

-Overweight. The more extra pounds we carry around the more water we need, especially during warmer weather or during physical activity of any kind.

-Age. The older we are, the less likely we are to feel thirsty, but the health benefits of water increase as we age and sufficient amounts are even more important.


What health problems can Chronic Dehydration cause?

  • Respiratory problems
  • Increased loss of energy
  • Hi or low blood pressure
  • Arthritis, pain in the joints and muscles
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Constipation
  • Urinary infections
  • Digestive troubles
  • Inflammation of the lining of the stomach, (gastritis) symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite and discomfort after eating
  • Common skin irritations, dry skin
  • Early aging

 Many senior citizens suffer from chronic dehydration, as the impulse to drink often diminishes with age. Real problems arise when the symptoms of dehydration combine with elevated body temperature (hyperthermia) during hot weather, which can result in death.

  How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day?

-This may be open to debate. Many health professionals say you should drink about  half your body weight  in ounces daily.

If this is true and you weigh 160 pounds, 80 ounces of water, each and every day would be necessary to stay hydrated.

-More would be required during warmer weather, strenuous activity or of course, during exercise.

 Although in total agreement with the health benefits of water, here at health stories we tend to agree with researchers who suggest:

-A healthy adult only needs to consume the amount of water needed to replace the amount of water  lost  from the body each day. 

This amounts to about a quarter-and-a-half, or 4 to 6 - 8 oz. glasses per day. Our bodies get fluids from many of the foods we eat,  as well as  what we drink. (this will vary by activity level, temperature, etc.)

-See this related article from Dartmouth Medical School.

It's not so much that we drink water every day, but much better that we consume water in place of at least some of the drinks high in sugar (soda, juices), or caffeine (coffee, tea).

-Even many so-called sport and health drinks can be very high in sugar and/or sodium, not to mention high in calories.

Try adding orange, lemon, lime or even pineapple slices for taste.

-This overview should provide some food for thought, and maybe even inspire you to increase your current water consumption if it's low; the health benefits of drinking water can truly make it worth the effort.

"I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man."
~Henry David Thoreau


From  Benefits of Drinking Water  back to Why  Healthy Eating?

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