Hydration, or the process of absorbing water, is essential to good health and life. Water makes up about 60% of the human body and is a component of every body cell. Without water humans can only survive for a matter of days. There are many health benefits to drinking water and staying hydrated, such as:

  • Heart Health – staying hydrated helps the heart more readily pump blood to the rest of the body. If one is hydrated, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
  • Water helps your body to stay cool- heat is released from the body by expanding blood vessels close to the skins surface. When one is dehydrated it takes a higher temperature to trigger the blood vessels to widen, so the body remains hotter longer.
  • Water helps to cleanse the body – Kidneys need water to filter toxins from the blood and excrete in urine.
  • Water carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells
  • Water lubricates Joints
  • Water works to help prevent constipation
  • Water helps prevent dry mouth which can cause one to have bad breath, unpleasant taste and even promote cavities.
  • Water can help control calories – substituting water for higher calorie beverages can help reduce caloric intake

Although drinking water is a great way to stay hydrated, for those that don’t particularly like to drink water, there are other ways of staying hydrated that don’t include drinking water. You and get proper hydration by drinking other fluids and eating foods with a higher water content. These foods include cucumber, celery, tomatoes, fruits, Jell-O and more. So how much water should one drink? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks. Factors that could affect the amount of water your specific body needs include the amount of exercise, environment (example: if you live in a hot climate your needs may be higher), overall health (your body loses more water when you have a fever, vomiting, diarrhea etc.) and if your pregnant or breastfeeding. Don’t worry, there are ways of telling if you are properly hydrated such as if you are rarely thirsty and/or if your urine is colorless or light yellow. Talk to a registered dietitian to find out your specific fluid needs.

 

References

  1. Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy. American Heart Association , Sept. 2014, heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Staying-Hydrated—Staying-Healthy_UCM_441180_Article.jsp#.Wpgu2mrwa00.
  2. “6 Benefits of Staying Hydrated.” One Medical, 8 Aug. 2017, onemedical.com/blog/live-well/6-benefits-of-staying-hydrated/.
  3. “Functions of Water in the Body.” Nutrition and Healthy Eating , Mayo Clinic , mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/functions-of-water-in-the-body/img-20005799.
  4. “Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?” Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Mayo Clinic, 6 Sept. 2017, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256.