Why drink water?
The health benefits of drinking water are well documented and there is little debate about the relationship of water and health. There is debate about how much water we need and some of its touted benefits.
Water is essential for life. It doesn't look it, but your body is approximately 70% water. That means the average 150 pound adult is made up of 40-50 quarts or 80-100 pounds of water. Brain tissue contains 85% water. Muscles are 75% water, blood is over 80%, and bones are 22% water. These cells need a ready supply of water to function properly and to live.
Water is not only in your cells, but between your capillaries and cells. Interstitial fluid fills the spaces between most of your cells and makes up 16% of your body's water. It plays the vital role of carrying nutrients, hormones, gasses and water to the cells from the blood and waste products from the cells to the lymph.
You can live for weeks without food, but only days without water. Even a slight 2% dehydration rate can cause unpleasant symptoms. Blood becomes thicker and harder to circulate making you more susceptible to viral infections. You may experience a dry mouth and hunger as your body alerts you to its need for water. Other symptoms include headache, brain fog, dizziness, weakness and palpitations.
An adequate water supply improves mental and physical performance. It cushions joints and vital organs. Water is vital for proper blood circulation and cell health.
How much do you need to drink to get the health benefits of drinking water? The answer depends on a number of factors.
The average adult uses about three quarts, or 12 cups of water a day for digestion, nutrient absorption, and toxin removal.
Many experts agree that for normally active, healthy people, drinking ½ ounce of water per pound of body weight is ideal. That's eight to ten cups of water daily. The rest of your water needs are filled by vegetables, juicy fruits, meat and fish.
In a large study conducted at Loma Linda University in California, researchers found that people who drank five or more glasses of water a day were less likely to die from a heart attack than people who drank less than two glasses.
For the most part, you don't need to track of your water consumption.
An easy way to tell if you are drinking enough is that you do not feel thirsty and your urine is light yellow in color during the day. Drinking copious amounts of plain water in a sitting is unwise - it can cause a potentially fatal electrolyte imbalance called water intoxification.
If you have a dry mouth, thirst and dark urine, drink more water.
You may need more water when you take certain medications or have a fever, blood loss, diarrhea or vomiting. Very warm or dry weather, and alcohol or caffeine use also increases your need for water.
Note: Certain health conditions require you to limit and monitor water consumption. Please follow your physician's recommendations.
Optimize the benefits of drinking water by making these tips part of your healthy living habits.
Drinking water for health is an important and easy habit to stick with. Experience the benefits of drinking water by including healthy beverages, water, and plenty of water-rich foods in your daily diet. Listen to your body and trust it to let you know when and how much water you need.
Source: Interstitial Fluid
Health Benefits of Drinking Water page updated 04/2020