15 health benefits of drinking water

Keeping hydrated is vital to safety and well-being, but not enough fluids are consumed every day by many.

About 60 percent of the body consists of water, and about 71 percent of the surface of the earth is filled by water.

Maybe it’s the abundant existence of water that means drinking enough every day isn’t at the top of priority lists for many citizens.

Fast facts on drinking water

  • Adult humans are 60 percent water, and our blood is 90 percent water.
  • There is no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed daily.
  • Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions.
  • When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.
  • Drinking water instead of soda can help with weight loss.

Fifteen benefits of drinking water

Hand holding glass cup full of water
Possible benefits of drinking water range from keeping the kidneys healthy to losing weight.

All of the cells and organs in the body need water to function properly.

Here are a few explanations why our bodies need water:

1. It lubricates the joints

Cartilage, located in joints and spinal disks, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can decrease the shock-absorbing ability of the joints, leading to joint pain.

2. It forms saliva and mucus

Saliva helps digest our food and maintains moist mouth, nose and eyes. This effectively prevents friction and damage. Drinking water keeps your mouth clean too. It can also reduce tooth decay, when eaten instead of sweetened beverages.

3. It delivers oxygen throughout the body

Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.

4. It boosts skin health and beauty

With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.

5. It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues

Dehydration can affect function and structure of the brain. It also engages in hormone and neurotransmitter development. Prolonged dehydration can cause thought and reasoning problems.

6. It regulates body temperature

As the body heats up, water that is contained in the middle layers of the skin comes to the surface of the skin as sweat. This cools the body, because it evaporates. Sporting.

Some scientists have suggested that heat storage increases when there is too little water in the body and the person is less able to to withstand heat stress.

Getting plenty of water in the body will minimize physical strain if there is heat stress during exercise. There is therefore a need for further research into these results.

7, The digestive system depends on it

To function properly the bowel requires water. Dehydration can result in digestive problems, constipation and an overly acidic stomach. That raises the risk of heartburn and ulcers in the stomach.

8. It flushes body waste

Water is necessary in the sweating and urine and fece removal processes.

9. It helps maintain blood pressure

A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.

10. The airways need it

When dehydrated, the body closes the airways in an attempt to prevent loss of water. That can worsen asthma and allergies.

11. It makes minerals and nutrients accessible

These dissolve in water which allows them to enter various parts of the body.

12. It prevents kidney damage

Body fluid is regulated by the kidneys. Insufficient water can cause kidneys stones and other issues.

13. It boosts performance during exercise

Dehydration during exercise may hinder performance.
Dehydration during exercise may hinder performance.

Some scientists have indicated that consuming more water during the strenuous activity could improve efficiency.

To confirm this, further research is needed but one study found that dehydration decreases performance in activities that last longer than 30 minutes.

14. Weight loss

If consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas, water can also aid with weight loss. “Preloading” with water before meals will aid by generating a feeling of fullness to avoid overeating.

15. It reduces the chance of a hangover

Unsweetened soda water with ice and lemon alternated with alcoholic beverages will help avoid over-consumption of alcohol when partying.

Kidney damage

Water helps absorb nutrients and minerals, making them more acceptable to the body. This also helps in eliminating waste materials.

A kidney diagram
The kidneys are important in controlling fluid levels.

These two functions make kidney water precious.

The kidneys flush out about 120-150 quarts of fluid per day.

Of these, roughly 1-2 quarts in the type of urine are expelled from the body, and the remainder are recovered via the bloodstream.

Water is necessary to function in the kidneys.

Without proper functioning of the kidneys, waste products and excess fluid will build up within the body.

Chronic kidney disease untreated can cause kidney failure. The kidneys stop functioning, so it needs either dialysis or kidney transplants.

The second most common form of infection in the body is urinary tract infections (UTIs). They per year account for around 8.1 million health care provider visits in the U.S.

When infections spread, from the kidneys, into the upper urinary tract, permanent damage can result. Sudden, or acute, kidney infections can be life-threatening, particularly if there is septicemia.

Drinking plenty of water is an simple way of raising the risk of developing a UTI and helping to manage an established UTI.

Kidney stones mess with the way kidneys operate. Might complicate UTIs if present. The treatment of such complicated UTIs appears to take longer periods of antibiotics, usually lasting 7 to 14 days.

A shortage of water is the principal cause of kidney stones. People who always mention them don’t drink the correct amount of water everyday. The risk of chronic kidney disease can also increase with kidney stones.

The American College of Physicians released new recommendations in November 2014 for people who have acquired kidney stones previously. The guidelines note that increasing the intake of fluids to require 2 liters of urination a day will reduce the risk of stone recurrence by at least half without side effects.

Dehydration happens as we consume more water and lose more than the body takes in. It may create an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes such as potassium, phosphate, and sodium help to transmit electrical signals between cells. The kidneys maintain steady electrolyte levels in the body while they are functioning properly.

Such electrical signals are mixed up when the kidneys are unable to maintain a balance in the electrolyte levels. This can result in seizures involving involvement of unconscious muscle movements and loss of consciousness.

Dehydration can, in extreme cases, lead to kidney failure, which can be life-threatening. Possible chronic kidney failure complications include anemia, central nervous system injury, heart failure and a weakened immune system.

Sources

Some of the water the body needs is obtained from high water content foods, such as soups, tomatoes, oranges, but most come from drinking water and other beverages.

Water is lost by the body during normal life and this needs to be replaced. We note that through things such as sweating and urination we lose water, but water is lost even at breathing.

The best source of fluid for the body is drinking water, whether it comes from the tap or a bottle.

Milk and juices are often healthy sources of food, but alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages such as soft drinks, coffee, and beer are not suitable as they they contain empty calories. Drinking water can help with weight loss, instead of soda.

Caffeinated drinks were traditionally thought to have diuretic effects, that is, they allow the body to release water. Studies however show that loss of fluid due to coffeinated beverages is small.

Recommended intake

Young man Drinking water
How much water we need to consume is influenced by the climate.

Through day, the amount of water needed varies from person to person, depending on how active they are, how much they sweat, etc.

There is no set amount of water that needs to be consumed everyday, but there is general consensus about what a safe consumption of fluids is. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the maximum daily recommended intake of both food and drink water is:

This would be around 15.5 cups for men, and just over 11 women’s cups. Around 80 percent of that, however, will come from liquids, like water, and the rest should come from food.

This means that:

  • Men should drink around 100 ounces, or 12.5 cups of fluid
  • Women should drink around 73 ounces, or just over 9 cups

Fresh fruits and vegetables and all non-alcoholic fluids count towards this recommendation.

Times when it is most important to drink plenty of water include:

  • when you have a fever
  • when the weather is hot
  • if you have diarrhea and vomiting
  • when you sweat a lot, for example, due to physical activity

Facts

Here are some facts about water:

  • Babies and children have a higher percentage of water than adults. When babies are born, they are about 78 percent water, but this falls to 65 percent by the age of 1 year.
  • Fatty tissue has less water than lean tissue.
  • Men have more water than women, as a percentage.

Do we drink enough water?

In 2013, a study conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the 2007 Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey of the National Cancer Institute.

Out of a sample of 3,397 adults, the researchers found:

  • 7 percent of adults reported no daily consumption of drinking water
  • 36 percent of adults reported drinking 1-3 cups of drinking water a day
  • 35 percent of adults reported drinking 4-7 cups of drinking water a day
  • 22 percent of adults reported drinking 8 cups or more a day

People were more likely to consume less than 4 cups of drinking water a day if they were eating 1 cup or less of fruits or vegetables a day.

The research did only assess drinking water consumption. Fluid can be derived from other foods, but water is better because it is free from calories, free from caffeine and free from alcohol.

Seven percent of respondents reported drinking no water every day, and those consuming a small amount of water drank less fruit and vegetables as well. It means that due to not having enough fluid a small number of people are risking their health.

Although if the respondents reporting low water consumption levels were consuming enough fluid, it is possible that they would receive it from sources that would otherwise potentially endanger their safety.

“The biological water requirement can be met either with plain water or by foods and other beverages,” the authors of the study write. “Findings from previous epidemiological studies suggest that the consumption of water can be inversely related to the amount of calorically sweetened drinks and other fluid consumption.”

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