The reason why hydration is so important:
(Hint-You are about 60% water)
The average human person is approximately made of 60% water by weight. Our fat tissue contains about 10% of water while our muscles and kidneys comprise around 75% water. Similarly, our brain as well as our heart are made of 73% water while our skin has 64%. These figures are general ratios and may vary from one person to another based on factors like health, age, gender and weight.
Every day, our bodies consume water in order for daily metabolic processes to go on and for us to survive. We constantly lose water each day, as we sweat and urinate, hence we need to replenish what we lost . It is important to drink the right amount of water each day. Generally, an adult male needs around 3 liters of water while an adult female needs approximately 2.2 liters. Again, these are general numbers as other factors like geographic location, level of activity, and temperature will affect the amount needed. If we don’t drink as much water as we lose, our bodies will not function optimally.
The Many Functions of Water
Our body needs water for a number of essential metabolic functions to enable us to work and to maintain a healthy well-being. We need water for the brain to produce hormones that help in balance and to generate neurotransmitters that help in proper nerve function and body reflex coordination and reaction.
We also need water to regulate our body’s temperature as our body adjusts to outside temperature changes or when our body fights off infection. It is also essential in regulating blood pressure to allow our blood to move more freely in our blood vessels. Similarly we need water to keep our mucosal membranes moist and to keep our joints lubricated.
Sufficient water allows body cells to reproduce, grow and survive. It also helps break down and convert food to needed components as it aids in the digestive process. Water helps oxygenate our body as it allows oxygen to diffuse faster in the blood. It also assists in expelling the body wastes we have as we flush out the toxins either through urine, sweat or when it assists in good bowel movement. These processes may be basic as these happen to us internally, but these are all essential body functions that aid in maintaining and sustaining life.
Forms of Hydration
To hydrate your body does not always literally mean to drink plenty of clear water. We can take in water in different forms and in most cases these methods are overlooked or we may not even be aware of.
Although taking in clear tap water is still the best method of hydrating yourself, you can also hydrate through other liquids or foods you ingest.
You may increase water consumption when you take in oatmeal, yogurt or soups as these foods contain more water than your regular fried or sautéed forms.
You may also take in water rich fruits and vegetables like celery, lettuce, watermelon, cucumbers, and strawberries. These fruits and vegetable are not only water packed, but they are also good sources of fiber, potassium, Vitamin A, B6, C, K and iron.
Non- alcoholic drinks, like juices, non-caffeinated teas, coconut water and smoothies help in hydrating your body without sacrificing taste. You can also add a piece of lemon or some of your favorite berries to your water if you find yourself bored of the usual tap water taste.
Effects of Good Hydration
Since water is a huge component of our overall bodily make up, it makes perfect sense that it is a major element in a multitude of metabolic functions our body undertakes. When your body is fully hydrated, not only do you enable your internal systems to work as they should, you also promote a good sense of overall well-being to yourself. These effects may not happen overnight, but in the long run, if you are used to hydrating yourself copiously, you will reap the benefits of good hydration in no time. Here are some benefits of ample hydration:
- Promotes weight loss and reduces gaining undesirable weight – enough water energizes the cells to create energy, hence if you have enough water in the body, signals to the brain to get more food is reduced; water also fills the stomach to increase satiety and reduce feelings of hunger
- Improves digestion and eliminates digestive illnesses – adequate water reduces constipation as it purges metabolic toxins and wastes better, and supports improved nutrient absorption; it also helps reduce, if not eradicate, occurrences of bloating, ulcers, gas formation, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), gastritis and acid reflux.
- Decreases susceptibility to kidney stones and increases elimination of unwanted bacteria from kidneys and bladder – good hydration decreases the incidence of bladder or kidney infections as water flushes out unhealthy microbes; since our kidneys and bladder are designed to eliminate toxins, it would be an extra benefit that remnants of eliminated wastes do not stay in the body.
- Improves skin texture and reduces incidence of skin diseases and premature aging – improperly hydrated skin is more prone to irritation, inflammation and congestion, that leads to acne, blackheads and redness; if properly hydrated, facial skin wrinkles and bags are lessened and the skin aging is slowed down.
- Fights fatigue and improves physical performance – water helps avoid overall lethargy and allows body cells to complete important enzymatic activities that facilitate better sleep, creation of ample energy and recuperation of organs from doing systemic processes.
- Supports prompt repair of joints and cartilage – Our joints, and cartilages will become dry and prone to irreparable wear and tear if you lack good hydration. Having enough water in the body ensures healthy lubrication of joints and cartilages and stops the degradation of the cartilage material.
- Halts allergies and asthma – since dehydration suppresses the immune system, the body becomes more prone to allergens, thereby triggering the increase of histamine in the body; if you are well hydrated, water dilutes the histamine in the body thereby reducing the symptoms of allergy.
Generally, it is never easy to ensure that one can drink 8 glasses of water religiously every day. Aside from keeping in mind the benefits of drinking copious amounts of water, there are ways by which you can make drinking water more creative. For some, they add slices of lemons, apples or cucumber wedges in their water while others infuse their water with herbs like holy basil, sage or mint and steep in the refrigerator overnight; all these are done to enhance flavor and increase the nutritive value of the water you drink.