Fluid loss occurs continuously through evaporation, excretion and even breathing. To maintain normal function, it’s important to consume an adequate amount of water throughout the day. At the same time, there are a number of other water benefits that can improve the way we look and feel, while also warding off specific health problems.
In addition to being a zero-calorie substitute for sugary beverages, water can curb hunger by making us feel fuller. If you’re trying to reduce your appetite, try drinking a glass of water before eating. You can also reduce your calorie intake by eating filling water-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, oatmeal and broth-based soups.
Maintaining Fluid Balance
The body requires water to effectively perform a number of key functions, including:
- Body temperature maintenance
- Transporting nutrients
- Creating Saliva
- Blood circulation
- Nutrient absorption
When you feel thirsty, your brain is signaling a water deficit that prevents these functions from occurring the way they should.
Reducing Muscle Fatigue
A good balance of fluids and electrolytes is critical to preventing muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have enough fluids, performance suffers and cramping may occur. For best results, drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercising.
Improving the Look of Your Skin
Since dehydration can make skin look dry and wrinkled, drinking more water can make you look healthier and slightly younger. You can also help “lock” in water by applying a moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier between your skin and the air.
Maintaining Kidney Health
Your kidneys do an incredible job of cleansing your body of toxins, but only as long as you drink an adequate amount of water. Drinking water also helps prevent kidney and bladder stones by flushing away minerals. When you do drink enough water, your urine will appear clear or pale yellow. When you do not drink enough, it will appear darker in color.
Good hydration prevents constipation by keeping things flowing down your gastrointestinal tract. When you are dehydrated, your colon will pull water from stool to compensate.
How Much Should I Drink?
According to the Institute of Medicine, men should drink about 13 cups (3 liters) of water per day. For women, the recommended amount is about 9 cups ( 2.2 liters). If you are especially active or live in a hot climate, you may need to drink more to stay fully hydrated.