Drink Up: the Benefits of Drinking Water and How It Helps You
About sixty percent of our body's mass is made up of H2O, so it stands to reason that water is pretty important. The reason water is so essential begins with the fact that is acts as a kind of building block for all of our bodily functions. The U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science School lists the following as just a few of the essential functions of water:
- Helps to regulate our internal body temperature through respiration and sweating
- Metabolizes and transports the food we eat through the bloodstream
- Helps get rid of toxins and waste through urination
- It is the major component of saliva
- It lubricates our joints
- Acts as a buffer, or shock absorber, between the vertebrae in the spinal cord and in the brain
- It is a vital nutrient in every single cell
- Keeps mucous membranes hydrated
- Helps deliver oxygen throughout the body
The benefits of drinking water are substantial. It facilitates improvements to the digestive system, weight maintenance, better sleep, sharper thinking, and less fatigue. In fact, when it comes to weight loss, water not only makes us feel fuller, but according to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (December 2003 issue), it was reported that drinking water benefits the body by increasing its metabolism as well.
Michael Boschmann, MD, and colleagues noted that in both men and women, drinking just a half a liter of water (just over a pint, at about 17 ounces) increased the rate at which they burned calories by a shocking 30%. During the study, maximum metabolic rate occurred at around 30-40 minutes after consumption, but was sustained for more than an hour in many of the subjects.
Water is also important for your digestive health. It has been reported by many health professionals that proper water intake not only flushes the toxins from vital organs, but also aids in the digestive process by providing enough fluid to pass stools through the body. When properly hydrated, your body metabolizes food better, which helps prevent intestinal problems, can help you avoid irritable bowel syndrome, and can even help prevent diseases like cancer by moving toxins out of the body instead of leaving them trapped in your cells. To back this up, research from multiple sources (including a study from the Department of Pathology and Oncology, Soroka University Medical Center and Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel) has suggested that there are links between urinary tract, colon, and breast cancers, and consistent dehydration.
The old standard of drinking eight glasses of water per may be needed for some, but doesn't necessarily hold true. From their research and studies, The Institute of Medicine determined that men should roughly consume about 125 ounces per day, and women around 91 ounces per day of water from all sources, including food and other beverages. Still, eight 8-ounce glasses of water is only 64 ounces, and the rest will generally come from food and other beverages. In any case, all medical experts and scientists agree that those in warmer climates and those who are more active will likely need increased water intake order to avoid dehydration.
When it comes to the benefits of drinking water, there are probably too many to mention. However, one thing's for certain: our bodies need water, and drinking it is good for your health.