This story was updated in January 2019.
We’ve heard it time and again, you need to drink water at regular intervals and constantly stay hydrated. There are various reminder apps created around this, but what’s all the fuss about? What does water do for your body? Why is it so important and why you shouldn’t be ignoring your body’s cry for help? Well, get ready to have all your questions answered as we discuss in-depth the various benefits of drinking water.
Just like they taught you in high school, your body is made of 60% water and this liquid carries out some very important functions in your body. This includes absorption, secretion of saliva, circulation, digestion and maintenance of body temperature. Now you know why mom always reminds you to stay hydrated! Dehydration is the worst thing to do to your body because the consequences of dehydration can be dangerous. From fatigue, nausea, to serious mental effects such as loss of memory, attention span, and focus. Dehydration also causes low blood pressure and weakness in serious cases.
Most health gurus will ask you to keep drinking water through the day, even if you aren’t thirsty. But the thumb rule states that you should have 8X8 - which is 8 glasses of water, 8 ounces each. Which translated to approximately two liters of water every day, depending on how much you’ve been sweating and your physical stress. If you’re an athlete or live in a humid and sunny area, then your body is likely to require more fluids.
In a recent study, Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences looked into the matter and the co-author, Michael Farrell, found that forcing yourself to drink water when you aren’t thirsty may override the instinct of thirst in your brain. Because your body knows when it needs water. So the best time to drink water is when you are actually thirsty and your body indicates that it is dehydrated.
However, the Japanese believe that drinking water in the morning around four glasses as soon as you wake up is the best way to keep your body healthy throughout the day. It also helps your skin stay clean and healthy. Another reason why the Japanese follow this ritual is to lose weight as it helps keep the metabolism rate high. But the catch is that you shouldn't have anything to eat for at least 45 minutes after your morning water ritual.
It is possible to follow both these schools of thought. Hydrate your body early in the morning as soon as you wake up, as it is bound to be dehydrated. And for the rest of the day, supply your body with water as and when it is thirsty. This results in maximum hydration, for glowing skin and a fully functioning body.
Most people would recommend having a glass of warm water before you go to bed or first thing in the morning, with a dash of lemon and honey. But how does that help your body? Here are a few ways in which your body appreciates a glass of hot water.
A cup of hot water and the steam it creates will help you relieve the congestion in your nasal passage. It also soothes the mucous membranes across your neck and torso, providing you with instant relief. This is why most doctors ask you to gargle with hot water. You can also substitute this with some warm lemon and ginger tea to help get rid of the congestion.
Since water helps break down food in your stomach, acting as an aid when you have digestive problems, drinking water on an empty stomach is always a great idea. Warm water, on the other hand, acts faster and aids in faster digestion, flushing out toxins. So if you’re struggling with a bad stomach, having water will help your body fight the problem.
Warm water clears out any food that may be clogged in your intestines and thus relieves constipation. It basically aids in clearing out your stomach, so if you suffer from constipation, warm water is your magic nectar. You can also add lemon to this mix or a few green tea leaves to make the ritual tasty.
Having hot water plays a huge role in calming down your nervous system. So if you’re having a stressful week or simply struggling with an aching body, a cup of warm water will help you relax by lubricating your body and calming your mind. For added benefit, some Camomile tea is ideal because it combines the benefits of the tea and warm water.
Drinking cold water may not be as beneficial as having a cup of warm water but it has its own set of advantages. Cold water is great after a workout, especially after a high-intensity workout that increases your body temperature, cold water brings it back to the ideal temperature.
Another great advantage of drinking cold water is that it helps combat a heat stroke. So if you live in a hot sunny area then cold water will keep you hydrated and your body happy.
Hot or cold, no matter what your choice is, your body will thank you for keeping it hydrated. Here are the benefits of drinking water that will motivate you to keep that glass full!
When you think of toxins, your mind automatically wanders to green tea or another fancy product. But drinking an adequate amount of water is the best way to flush out toxins from your body. Your kidneys essentially work on water, which helps flush the toxins out of your blood and urine. Water is truly the elixir of life in this case.
Lack of hydration can make your skin dry and flaky, so keeping it hydrated helps keep it supple and healthy. Dehydration certainly will show on your face and make your skin dull, just like it would take a toll on any other organ in your body. Studies suggest that water will reach your skin only after it supplies an ample amount to the rest of your body. So in this case, an adequate amount of water is required to keep your skin glowing.
Water helps dilute the digestive juices in your stomach and hence aids in the process of digestion. Warm water is definitely preferred in this case, especially after a heavy meal. It will also help soften the stool for people who suffer from constipation.
Since your body is 60% water, it actually helps carry oxygen to your cells. This in return makes sure that your bodily functions are carried out in a healthy manner. Water also helps flush out toxins from your body, which in return helps create a better immune system for your body.
Dehydration is a common migraine trigger, hence having regular water breaks is the best way to avoid this situation. People who suffer from regular headaches should supply their body with an ample amount of water and cleanse the toxins.
Drinking a good amount of water before going to bed helps prevent leg cramps, the most common cause of which is dehydration. Avoiding coffee and alcoholic beverages is also a great way to prevent dehydration on the days that you are suffering from cramps or a headache.
People with desk jobs have one common complaint, how to relieve lower backache. Having an ample amount of water does just that because it lubricates your body. In other words, water helps keep the spinal discs full of fluid, cushioning them in return. It also keeps your body from developing lactic acid which may cause inflammation if you strain your lower back. Yes, you may find yourself making your way to the washroom more often than before but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing either because your body is flushing out toxins!
A human body uses water in various ways, in your cells, tissues and different organs to help carry out daily bodily functions. These functions keep your body healthy and help restore the ideal body temperature. So after all, the water you lose by sweating and digesting, hydration is the best way to keep your temperature normal.
One of the major causes of bad breath is a dry mouth, so hydrating yourself helps eliminate that concern. Another reason why drinking water helps with bad breath is that it flushes out all the remaining food particles and bacteria left in your mouth after a meal, which may be the reason behind bad breath.
Alcohol dehydrated your body, which is one of the major reasons you suffer from a hangover the next morning. Hydrating yourself before you go to bed, or first thing once you wake up in the morning will help your body recover from the hangover better.
Drinking water before you go to bed may not be the best idea if you suffer from sleep deprivation. So you can time it to 30 minutes before, which will result in no interruption to urinate in the middle of the night. However, the benefits of drinking water before you go to bed cannot be ignored. One of the biggest benefits is that it keeps your body hydrated through the night, resulting in a healthy functioning cycle.
Drinking water as soon as you wake up is a Japanese ritual that is actually life-changing. Before you even brush your teeth, drinking four glasses of water will make your metabolism better, your skin healthier and your bodily functions smoother. The Japanese would also suggest you eat nothing for the next 45 minutes and let your body soak up the nutrients. This ritual is recommended if you suffer from menstrual problems, eye-related ailments, and metabolism issues. Plus, it’s a very simple and easy way to get your body healthy.
Like I discussed above, both warm and cold water have their benefits depending on what you’re looking for. On a hot summer day, cold water will help maintain your ideal body temperature. But if you’re thirsty before or during a meal, you should pick warm water to help your body digest the food.
Drinking water, especially ice cold water helps your body burn calories. Studies show that drinking 1 liter more than your regular intake of water can help your body lose a considerable amount of weight in a few months. Drinking water also speeds up your metabolism, flushing out toxins and making your body healthy overall.
Excessive thirst is considered a sign of diabetes because one of the symptoms of diabetes is increased urination. This leads to dehydration, which in return leads to excessive thirst. However, excessive thirst by itself is not a symptom, if you do suffer from this then your first step should be to consult a doctor immediately.
Approximately two liters of water is what your body requires. But as I mentioned above, studies suggest you drink water whenever you are thirsty. So if you are thirsty even after having two liters of water, then you should give your body more water regardless of the amount.
Also, if you are aiming to lose weight or exercising regularly, then another one liter of water will aid in the process of increasing your metabolism and the digestive system.
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