By Shoshana Kosman, RD/LD
You may know that water is important for the body. After all, you’ve probably been told by a number of medical professionals that you should drink eight glasses of water a day. But do you know why?
Water is more than just a clear liquid. It’s an essential nutrient that your body needs to function properly. About 50 to 60 percent of your body weight is made up of water. Throughout the day, your body constantly loses fluid from regular bodily processes, like skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool. In order to ensure that your body stays hydrated, you must drink water regularly. If you do not take in as much water as you expend, you will become dehydrated, which can lead to physical damage as mild as a decrease in muscle strength and as severe as death.
So why is water so important? The following is a list of reasons why water is so crucial for a balanced, healthy diet.
1) Water maintains your body’s inner functioning. Water helps dissolve many molecules and proteins in your body, which promotes many biochemical processes in your body. As the primary substance in your blood, water helps transfer key nutrients and oxygen among cells throughout the body. Water also maintains your body’s balance of electrolytes, which are crucial for supplying information to your brain and regulating muscle activity.
2) Water keeps you cool. Water helps maintain a healthy body temperature. When the internal temperature of your body increases, water is expunged from your body in the form of sweat, which helps to cool your body down.
3) Water makes you smart. Water improves your brain performance by enhancing cognitive abilities. Even a slight loss of body weight due to a lack of water can cause significant cognitive impairment.
4) Water makes you strong. Water is crucial for supporting your physical performance, especially during strenuous exercise. Water helps transfer oxygen to your muscles when doing physical activity, so it is essential for exercising effectively and efficiently.
5) Water keeps you young. Water lubricates your internal organs and your joints, allowing for smooth movement and reducing stiffness. It also keeps your skin moisturized, reducing wrinkles and dryness.
6) Water keeps you slim. Water can help with weight loss, as it has zero calories and works as a much healthier substitute for high-calorie beverages like soda or juice.
7) Water helps you expel toxins. The fluid in your body is necessary for the healthy transportation of waste products in and out of your cells. Without water, your kidneys would be unable to pass waste in the form of urine. In addition, hydration keeps your gastrointestinal tract flowing smoothly, thereby preventing constipation.
For all of these reasons, it is vital for you to drink water regularly throughout the day. To increase your fluid intake, you should drink water with every snack and meal, eat more fruits and vegetables (which are high in water content), and carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Make these small changes, and you will be sure to see a difference in your body in no time!