6 Reasons to Drink Water
It's no magic bullet, but the benefits of water are many.
Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume
requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps
you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups,
oatmeal, and beans.
3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don't maintain their
balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle
fatigue. "When muscle cells don't have adequate fluids, they don't work
as well and performance can suffer," says Guest.
Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American
College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during
physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces
of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that
people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to
replace fluids lost by sweating.
4. 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."
You can also help "lock" moisture into your skin by using
moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
5. 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 Guest. "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.
When you're getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and
free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration,
color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily
If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for
kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration
keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents
constipation. When you don't get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from
stools to maintain hydration -- and the result is constipation.
"Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid
pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning
properly," says Koelemay.
5 Tips to Help You Drink More
If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase
your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:
- Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
- Choose beverages you enjoy; you're likely to drink more liquids if you like
the way they taste.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will
add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
- Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your
- Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you're watching
calories, go for non-caloric beverages or water.