Water – The Fountain of Youth

Water. This may sound like a boring topic, but considering that hydrating yourself is one of the best things you can do for your health, I thought it was worth taking the time to give you some interesting facts and information.

"Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day," says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute, an industry group

 

  1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids.

Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

 

  1. Water Can Help Control Calories.

For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn't have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

 

  1. Water Helps Your Kidneys.

Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Stephen Guest, MD. "Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate," he says.

 

  1. Water Helps to Maximize Physical Performance

If we do not stay hydrated, physical performance can suffer. This is particularly important during intense exercise or high heat. Dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body's water content. However, it is not uncommon for athletes to lose up to 6-10% of their water weight via sweat. This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, increased fatigue and make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally

 

  1. Hydration Has a Major Effect on Energy Levels and Brain Function

Your brain is strongly influenced by hydration status. Studies show that even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can impair many aspects of brain function. In a study of young women, fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration, and increased the frequency of headaches. Another similar study, this time in young men, showed that fluid loss of 1.59% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue. A 1-3% fluid loss equals about 1.5-4.5 lbs (0.5-2 kg) of body weight loss for a 150 lbs (68 kg) person. This can easily occur through normal daily activities, let alone during exercise or high heat.

 

  1. Drinking Water May Help to Prevent and Treat Headaches

Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines in some individuals. Several studies have shown that water can relieve headaches in those who are dehydrated. However, this appears to depend on the type of headache. One study of 18 people found that water had no effect on the frequency of headaches, but did reduce the intensity and duration somewhat

 

  1. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good.

Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don't expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD. "Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration," he says. "But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids."

I think we have enough reasons to make sure we stay adequately hydrated. How much water is the right amount? This depends on how much you exercise each day, your size and weight among some other factors, but a safe estimate is 6-8 eight-ounce glasses per day. One helpful way to achieve this is to always have a refillable water bottle with you. So let’s all stay hydrated!

 

Information and facts provided by Joe Leech, Kathleen M. Zelman, and Joan Koelemay, RD., Kenneth Ellner, MD., Stephen Guest, MD