Water… It’s all around us, our bodies are 60 percent water, we drink it every day. There is a reason it’s everywhere around us and our go to drink for survival. Even though so many of us talk about drinking ”enough” water, what does that actually mean? What are the benefits of drinking water? Is it as important as a lot of us make it seem like it is? Let’s find out.
I want to make clear that drinking coffee, shakes, smoothies etc. don’t count when it comes to the amount of water you’re getting in each day. The water in these drinks is only used to get the right consistency and end product. You don’t mix coffee beans with hot water because you really want to get that water in your body. You only mix it in because that’s how you get the consistency that coffee is. As you can see with the example of coffee, even processes outside of our body heavily rely on water to make things work. This is how important water is to our daily life.
Why drink water?
There are many benefits when it comes to drinking water. There’s a reason why our body is 50-60% made out of water. tThere’s a reason why no other source hydrates the body like water does. There’s a reason we feel dehydrated if we don’t drink enough of it.
Our body is made up out of 50 to 60 % of water because our body heavily relies on it to guide/initiate/complete a lot processes that take place inside our body. It needs all that water to function properly. The reason why water hydrates our body like no other liquid is because our body doesn’t hold on to other liquids that way. Let’s take cola as an example, our body doesn’t hold on to the liquid that is cola, it rather absorbs the sugars and all the other nutrients that make up the cola and disposes of the rest that’s not useful in anyway. Wheareas water is used in it’s entirety. Our muscle cells, brain, lungs, heart etc. contain large amounts of water. It makes sense if we don’t hydrate our body throughout the day that we start to feel tired/lazy/sleepy/unmotivated/depleted (dehydrated). It’s simply because all of those major body parts are all fighting over the same amount of water that you consume each day. Those body parts are fighting for water when there’s not enough water for every body part to share evenly, as a result those body parts aren’t able to do their job/function. This is where cramping comes from.
Just drinking water isn’t enough however. Your body needs to be able to retain that water as well in order for it to be effective. Everyone knows that salt is able to hold water. There’s a salt concentration that consists in our body/blood that helps retain our water for us. We lose some of that salt by sweating/peeing, but we need that salt concentration in our blood to help us hold onto water. That’s why adding salt into your food/water is beneficial for your health, especially when it’s hot and humid out that will make you sweat a lot. That’s also the reason why so many people experience the effects of being dehydrated when it’s hot/humid out.
The benefits of water
Besides the reasons I have named above, here is a list containing more benefits when it comes to drinking water each day.
- Regulates our body temperature – Our body is capable of adjusting itself to basically any situation, it’s no different when it comes cooling our body down when our core temperature rises. Water plays a key role in our body’ ability to cool us down.
- Positively influences our physical capabilities – Our muscles contain a lot of water and it relies upon it to contract and extend muscle
- Supports brain function – Like we talked about before, the brain consists of water, less water means lower brain function.
- Helps with digestion – Our digestion cycle starts of by chewing our food, a big contributing factor to good digestion is saliva. Our body is capable of creating saliva because of water.
- Carries oxygen throughout the body – just like the parts of the body I mentioned earlier, our blood consists out of water and blood is the mode of transportation for oxygen
- It flushes out toxic waste – our body obviously needs water and fluids in order for it to pee and sweat out all of the bad stuff we want to get rid of
- Positively influences the uptake of minerals and vitamins – Some minerals and vitamins are only able to be absorbed in the presence of water
- Positively influences blood pressure – As we established, blood consists out of water. We all know that water thins out any solution that we mix it into. If there’s less water in your body that means less water in your blood which means blood is thicker which mean higher blood pressure.
What is enough?
It’s impossible for me to simply answer that question for you. All I can do is give you the tools to figure that out for yourself and your lifestyle. Everybody is different and that’s no different when it comes to our water intake. Everyone has different needs, our daily lives are different, and that all adds up different needs when it comes to nutrition and in this case water intake.
Drinking enough water simply means supporting every single thing you’re doing throughout the day. If there’s ever a point during the day that you’re feeling dehydrated, tired, unmotivated that means we’re not doing a good enough job of supporting our muscle, brain and organ functions by hydrating enough. Like we established earlier, there is a direct correlation between hydration and performance, our body needs it to get things done period.
A simple guide to drinking water starts off by making sure you have water near and with you wherever you’re. You’re more likely to drink water when it’s nearby because it’s easy and accessible. When you’re feeling thirsty or have a dry mouth you’re already too late and that’s a sign you should drink water more regularly or replace the other drinks you’re consuming throughout the day with water. Another way of checking your hydration level is by looking at your pee, pee is a very good and solid source of information that shows us what’s going on inside our body. If your pee is clear like water that’s a sign of being overhydrated, if your pee is a dark yellow colour it means that you’re not holding enough water or your sugar levels are pretty high, if your pee looks like coca-cola you should see a doctor.
My recommendation for every single person is to strive for about 2,5 liters per day, regardless of what your life looks like. If you get close to that number you’re probably good no matter what you do throughout the day, if you overdo it you will be able to tell and adjust for the next day from there. You will notice that your needs are not constantly the same because of energy expenditure, weather fluctuation and lifestyel changes.
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