Why Is Drinking Water Important?
It is so easy for most people to think nothing of the importance behind drinking water. However, staying hydrated has a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. We all know that water plays a large part in our existence on this planet, but a significant amount of people fail to consume the daily recommended amount of water each day.
Growing up, many were told to aim for a consumption of 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the current recommendation is “that men should drink at least 104 ounces of water per day, which is 13 cups, … and women should drink at least 72 ounces, which is 9 cups.” As we all know, our body is mostly comprised of water – around 70 percent.
Why do we need to drink water?
The Institute of Medicine has suggested that men consume a daily water intake of around 3 liters and that women consume a daily water intake of 2.2 liters. Our bodies need water to function properly. All cells and organs of the body use water in order to be efficient and carry out bodily tasks. Water also helps to lubricate the joints, protect the spinal cord and its sensitive tissue around it, regulate body temperature, and break down food as it passes through the intestines. Of course, we can obtain water through foods high in water content – like soup, tomatoes, oranges, watermelon – but the majority is gained through drinking water and other beverages. On any given day, water is lost over activity of the body, perspiration, and urination. We can even lose water retention through the act of breathing. So, naturally, the water must be replaced. Water, in its purest form, is the best fluid for the body.
How much water should I drink?
The recommended consumption of water per day varies from person to person and depends on how active they are or how much they sweat. There is no universal quota on how much water we consume daily. However, there is a general consensus to what the healthy amount is. Above all else, listen to your body. Another study from the IOM purports men should have a daily water intake of approximately 13 cups a day (3 liters), while women should have a daily water intake of approximately 9 cups a day (2.2 liters). Remember the old adage “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day?” Well, surely, all of our mothers had us spooked during childhood and it’s a wonder why we haven’t shriveled up by now. If you just remember “8 by 8,” this should put you at the women’s daily recommendation, which is around 1.9 liters. If you keep your water consumption regular throughout the day, it will help your body dissolve minerals and nutrients, making them more accessible to the body, and it will help to transport wast products out of the body. Flowing better means you feeling better 🙂
How does not drinking enough water affect your kidneys?
The kidneys are very important in that they keep the body healthy. The kidneys filter an estimated 120-150 quarts of fluid daily, which is why water is essential to kidney function. If the kidneys do not perform at maximum function, waste and excess fluid can accumulate within the body. Should this condition go untreated, it can lead to complications of the heart, lungs, and kidney failure. Certainly, this is an extreme case.
Other common conditions can be caused caused by a lack of hydration. Urinary tract infections, a.k.a. UTIs. have accounted for around 8.1 million doctor visits around the U.S. every year. Drinking plenty of water is a simple way to reduce the risk of getting a UTI. Kidney stones also can occur in people who fail to drink enough water. Dehydration is usually the result of losing more water than the body takes in. Dehydration makes it difficult for the kidneys to function properly and can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Potassium, phosphate, and sodium, all electrolytes, help to transmit electrical signals between the cells in your body. Kidneys maintain electrolyte levels in the body when at their most efficient function. However, if kidneys are unable to maintain equilibrium of electrolytes, electrical signals are muted or lost, causing seizures, involuntary muscle movements, or unconsciousness.
What about the effects on the other organs?
Although, the kidneys are the first affected by dehydration. Here are a few ways that dehydration can negatively affect other organs:
- Blood is typically more than 90% composed of water. If there a water deficiency in the body, the blood can become thicker and increase blood pressure.
- Dehydration causes airways to constrict and make asthma and allergies worse.
- Skin thrives on water. When water is unavailable in the body, the skin is more susceptible to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
- The bowel requires ample water to function properly. If dehydrated, digestion and constipation may occur. Prolonged water deficiency may result in acid reflux, heartburn, and stomach ulcers.
- Cartilage in your joints and discs in your spine make use of water. Ongoing dehydration can cause the joints to become less flexible and unable to absorb shock as easily. If this condition persists, the wear and tear can result in joint pain and arthritis.
- Dehydration can affect brain function and can impair cognitive function.