Your Health: The Benefits of Drinking Clean Water
If nutrition and fitness are an important part of your daily life, adding plenty of fresh, clean drinking water to your diet can have many positive health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, water is necessary for the body to perform its most basic functions such as body temperature regulation and nutrient/ oxygen transport via the circulatory system. Water is also needed to protect tissues, organs, and the spinal cord as well as maintain moist membranes found in your eyes, nose, and mouth. Water aids in toxin removal by dissolving uric acid, urea, and lactic acid, which are all waste products that can be harmful if they persist in the body. By drinking water you are reducing the burden on your kidneys and liver which remove these potential toxins from the body.
Improved digestion is another important benefit of drinking water. By combining with enzymes in saliva, water dissolves nutrients and soluble fiber which makes these items more available for your body to absorb and process. Water also improves digestive health by helping to relieve and prevent constipation. Water is not only necessary for proper digestion but is also a component of the synovial fluid that lubricates and cushions joints. By drinking water, you can possibly reduce the severity of sprains and injuries.
In addition to the basic health benefits, drinking water can be incorporated into your diet to help lose weight. The CDC suggests substituting sugar- sweetened beverages with water. You will consume approximately 240 fewer calories by drinking 20 ounces (oz.) of water in place of a 20 oz. soda sweetened with sugar. Furthermore, an obesity study funded by the Institute for Public Health and Water Research also suggests that when combined with a low calorie diet, drinking approximately 16 oz. of water prior to every meal can lead to greater weight loss in middle-aged and older adults, partly because the water causes increasing fullness and consequently not as much food is consumed.
How much water should you drink?
Water is lost during the normal processes of perspiration, respiration, and excretion. During daily activities and short bouts of exercise, a person will lose between 1.5 and 3 cups of water through perspiration alone so it is important to remain well-hydrated. There are many different suggestions of average daily water intake. The Mayo Clinic reports that the Institute of Medicine recommends that males drink 13 cups per day while females should drink 9 cups per day. The CDC says that normally active people should drink at least 2 quarts per day. Other sources suggest that to determine your specific daily water intake in ounces, you should divide your body weight (pounds) by 2. For example, a 120 lb individual should drink 60 oz. of water per day (120 lbs/2 = 60 oz.). Remember, factors like intense exercise (running a marathon), hot climates, or illness that includes high fever, diarrhea, or vomiting will cause more water loss and require that you drink more water to avoid dehydration.
Clearly water is essential to maintaining good health so start drinking more water and experience the many health benefits today!