An average human being can only survive about three to four days without water. This just tells us how important water is for our existence. Either taken through our food or as a drink, it is essential to always ensure proper hydration throughout the day. but do you really know why? Why is it that we can’t survive very long if we fail to supply our body with this precious liquid?

1) It is necessary for the maintenance of body fluids:

Water makes up about 60% of our body, with up to 90% of blood plasma being water. Being the main constituent of these fluids, water therefore play a key role in digestion, absorption, transport of nutrients and respiratory gases, elimination of waste, movement and even protection. Our body monitors any slight decrease in the volume of this fluid, whose end result is the sensation of thirst. It should however be noted that alcoholic beverages are not advised for quenching thirst, since alcohol promotes fluid loss.

2) It helps limit calories intake:

Drinking water instead of caloric beverages like soda or sweet juice can be of great help in reducing calories intake and give an interesting push on to the struggle for losing weight. Moreover, drinking a cup of water 30 minutes before a meal and taking food rich in water such as fruits, vegetables, and broth-based food both helps in digestion in addition to making you feel full easily. Food of high-water content looks larger, fills the stomach more easily and makes you eat less. This explains why dieters are always advised to drink a lot of water so as to help cut down fats. However, drinking too much water during a meal might interfere with proper digestion and end up causing more trouble. Studies have shown that it is best to take in water 30 minutes before a meal for optimum digestion and wait at least 2 hours before taking another cup.

3) It boosts skin health and beauty:

Our skin contains plenty of water. This water helps keep the skin hydrated, smooth, elastic and beautiful. It also plays an important role in protection against physical, chemical and microbial attack from the environment. Dehydrated skin looks dry and wrinkled, in addition to being more vulnerable to attack from the exterior.

4) Plays a major role in maintaining brain health: Dehydration seriously affects both memory, attention, reaction time and mood. Several studies have shown that proper hydration is essential not only for optimal brain function, but also that dehydration is associated with increased onset of headache and other related symptoms. When feeling tired, angry, confused, tensed or feeling headache, try taking a cup of water and having some rest. That might be enough to solve the problem. 3) Supports digestion and prevents constipation: As previously mentioned in point (1), water plays an essential role in digestion, absorption and gastrointestinal function. Constipation is a common indication of dehydration, which happens because the body draws water from stool in trying to compensate for the lack in our body, and by so doing the faeces become hard and difficult to pass out. 4) Help maintain proper kidney function: The kidneys play the indispensable role of constantly filtering our blood thereby removing wastes and toxins from our body. These are then eliminated as urine, which is itself made up mostly of water. When properly hydrated, urine appears clear, light in colour and odour-free. Passing out concentrated, coloured and highly odorant urine is a sign of dehydration, which if allowed in chronic state may lead to kidney diseases like kidney stones or even kidney failure. In the latter case, dialysis or kidney transplant appear to be the only treatment option. 5) Boosts performance during exercise: If you regularly exercise, you have surely noticed how much your physical performance is affected when you haven’t drunk enough water. We lose a lot of fluid during physical activities which must be replaced by proper drinking to keep up with our optimum performance. Severe dehydration during sport practice might be a life-threatening condition that can seriously endanger the person affected. 6) It regulates body temperature: Being the most abundant molecule in the body, water plays a vital function in the regulation of body temperature. By cooling down the body in hot weather (during drinking or sweating) or by stocking and conserving heat during cold weather, the body depends on water’s high specific heat capacity (ability to stock large amount of heat with little temperature change) to keep the body temperature within physiological limits. From the points listed above, it’s now clear that drinking water is not an option but a necessity if we really want to stay healthy. Be it for physical health, mental health or daytime performance, we need to make sure we are properly hydrated if we don’t want to suffer from any of the numerous disorders associated with inadequate hydration.

References:
• Mark’s Basic Medical Biochemistry A Clinical Approach, 2nd edition. 41.
• DeAnn Liska, Eunice Mah, […], and Lawrence L. Spriet. Narrative Review of Hydration and Selected Health Outcomes in the General Population. 2019. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
• H.H. Mitchell. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 158
• https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html
• Natalie Silver, Natalie Butter. Why is Water Important? 16 Reasons to Drink Up. June 2020. Healthline.com
• Kathleen M. Zelman. 6 Reasons to Drink Water. May 2008 WebMD.

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