Despite the many benefits of drinking water, most Americans are still not staying properly hydrated.
Our whole lives we’re told that we need to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day. But how many people actually do? A recent study showed that an estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, so it appears that very few of us are drinking enough water.
The plain and simple fact is that drinking water is necessary for humans to stay alive. Our body is made up of 60% water; 75% in the muscles and 85% in the brain. We need water like a car needs oil. It’s the key to proper digestion and helps ensure that we absorb vitamins and nutrients. Drinking water also removes wastes from our body and detoxifies the liver and kidneys. Nearly all the systems in our body do not function as well without adequate water.
In addition to not drinking enough water overall, many Americans consume a lot of beverages that actually have a dehydrating effect, like soda and caffeinated drinks. While we do get some water through our food, there is just no substitute for staying properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
If you’re still not convinced that you need to increase your consumption, here are six important benefits of drinking water.
- Keeps your muscles in shape. Cells that don’t have a proper balance of fluid and electrolytes will shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. This means that you won’t perform as well or get the most out of your exercise.
- Improves your mood. Dehydration can make you tired, cranky and confused. Drinking water will help keep you focused and feeling good.
- Helps you lose weight. Drinking water is actually an appetite suppressant. Often when we feel hungry it is actually our body just triggering us to consume something because we need water. Choosing water over juice and soda also cuts calories from your diet, which helps you lose weight.
- Reduces joint pain. Water keeps the cartilage in your joints soft and hydrated, which reduces pain.
- Gives your skin that healthy glow. Drinking water ensures that your skin builds new cells properly, which improves the color and texture.
- Helps prevent cancer. Research shows that drinking water can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%.
Keep in mind that the prescribed eight glasses of water a day is really just a guideline. You should actually drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day. So that means if you weigh 140 pounds you need to consume 70 ounces of water. When you are adequately hydrated your urine should be a pale straw color. Dark urine is a sign of dehydration. Be sure to also eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables, as they are a great source of water too.