Water is essential for our bodies to function properly. Every cell, tissue, and organ in our body needs water to work correctly. In fact, our bodies are made up of about 60% water. It’s no secret that drinking plenty of water is important for good health, but what are some of the specific benefits of doing so? Here we’ll take a look at some of the top health benefits of staying hydrated. From keeping our organs functioning properly to helping us maintain a healthy weight, this weeks blog will go over all the health rewards that come with drinking water and staying hydrated.
THE ROLE OF WATER
Water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and it’s this simple chemical structure that gives water some of its amazing properties. For example, water is:
- A Good Solvent: This means it can dissolve many different types of molecules, making it ideal for transporting nutrients and waste products around the body. It does so by dissolving them into smaller particles that can easily pass through the body’s cells.
- A Polar Molecule: This means that it has a slightly negative charge at one end (the oxygen atom) and a slightly positive charge at the other (the hydrogen atoms). This gives water molecules a strong attraction to each other, which is why water is such a good solvent.
- A High Specific Heat Capacity: This means that it takes a lot of energy to heat up water. This is why our bodies sweat when we’re hot – the evaporation of sweat from our skin helps to cool us down.
- A Great Heat Regulator: Water can absorb and release large amounts of heat, which helps to keep our bodies at a stable temperature.
- A Major Component of Bodily Fluids: Blood, sweat, urine, and tears are all mostly water.
- Helps Lubricate and Cushion Joints: Water is a key component of the fluids that lubricate and cushion our joints.
LOW GRADE DEHYDRATION
Most people are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it. Mild dehydration can cause fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. In fact, even just a 1-2% drop in hydration levels can negatively affect your mood and energy levels. Low grade dehydration affects nearly 75% of Americans and is a major contributing factor to the rising rates of fatigue and poor concentration. Improper hydration affects the cells internal environment and the way they function. How? When the body is not properly hydrated, it pulls water from other areas in order to maintain proper function in the brain and other vital organs. This causes those other areas to become dehydrated, which can lead to all sorts of problems such as dry skin, constipation, and joint pain.
How much water should you drink?
The amount of water you need to drink depends on a number of factors, including your age, activity level, and health. The 8×8 rule (drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day) is a good general guideline, but may not be appropriate for everyone.
For example, people who are physically active or live in hot climates may need more water than the 8×8 rule recommend. On the other hand, people who are elderly or have health conditions that cause them to retain water may need less than the 8×8 rule suggests.
Staying hydrated at a cellular level does take much more than water. In order to properly hydrate the cells, a combination of water, electrolytes, and minerals are needed. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium help to regulate the body’s fluid levels and are essential for proper cell function. Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are needed for strong bones and teeth. Proper cell function means that the cells can properly do their job, which is to remove waste products and toxins from the body, deliver nutrients to where they are needed, and produce energy.
To stay properly hydrated, I recommend trying to incorporate water dense fruits and vegetables. In doing so, you can increase your water intake while also getting the added benefits of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Adding a pinch of high quality sea salt to your water can also help to replenish electrolytes.
BENEFITS OF STAYING HYDRATED
Proper hydration is essential for our optimal health and wellness. Benefits of staying hydrated include:
- Improved Mood and Energy Levels: When the body is properly hydrated, the brain functions more efficiently and mood and energy levels are improved.
- Better Cognitive Function: Dehydration can lead to poor focus, difficulty concentrating, and decreased cognitive function.
- Increased Physical Performance: Dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, and decreased coordination. Staying properly hydrated can help to prevent these effects and improve physical performance.
- Improved Kidney Function: The kidneys rely on water to filter waste products from the blood. When the body is properly hydrated, the kidneys are able to function more efficiently.
- Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: Proper hydration is essential for the proper function of all systems in the body. Dehydration can lead to chronic problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and kidney stones.
- Improved Skin Health: Dehydration can cause the skin to become dry, wrinkled, and dull. Proper hydration helps to keep the skin looking plump and youthful.
- Improved Joint Health: Dehydration can cause the joints to become dry and inflamed. Proper hydration helps to keep the joints lubricated and reduces inflammation.
- Improved Digestion: Dehydration can cause constipation and other digestive problems. Proper hydration helps to keep the digestive system moving smoothly.
6 TIPS FOR OPTIMAL HYDRATION
- Drink water first thing in the morning: Drinking water first thing in the morning helps to rehydrate your body after a long night of sleep. The first thing you put into your body sets the tone for the rest of the day, so make sure to start your day off with a tall glass of water.
- Invest in a good cup: Investing in a good quality water bottle or cup can help to make drinking water more enjoyable. If you have a cup that you really like, you’re more likely to drink from it throughout the day.
- Use an App to track your water intake: There are lots of great apps out there that can help you to track your water intake. By tracking your water intake, you can ensure that you’re drinking enough throughout the day. Some apps have features like reminders to drink water, which can be really helpful.
- Substitute Soda or Juices with Sparkling Water: If you’re looking for a way to add some flavor to your water without all the sugar, try adding some sparkling water. You can find sparkling water in a variety of flavors, or you can even make your own by adding fruit slices or mint leaves to plain carbonated water. I personally enjoy adding fresh oranges or limes to my sparkling water.
- Install a good filter: Installing a good water filter can help to ensure that you’re drinking clean, pure water. This is especially important if you live in an area with poor water quality. A good water filter will remove impurities from your water, making it taste better and be better for your health.
- Water Rich Foods: Including water rich foods in your diet is a great way to stay hydrated. Some water rich foods include fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, and strawberries. Including these foods in your diet will help you to reach your daily water intake goals.
Drinking plenty of water is essential for our health and well-being. By staying properly hydrated, we can improve our mood, energy levels, cognitive function, physical performance, kidney function, skin health, joint health. Leave a comment below and let us know how you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Institute for Human Optimization
We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare. At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. We are a Maryland Functional Medicine but our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.
Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There is no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!