Drinking water first thing in the morning when you wake up and then throughout the day and then before going to bed at night gives you health benefits that can only be described as miraculous. No other natural element in the world can give your body so many health benefits. No wonder then, it is referred to as “nature’s wonder drug”.
Water is the liquid of life. There is not an inch of exaggeration in this statement. We all know the value of water in our existence. Now let us evaluate what are the advantages and health benefits of drinking water, in keeping us healthy and ailment free. Just off-hand, I could remember 14 benefits of drinking water. These uses of water for your health just cannot be ignored.
This subject is vast and we shall briefly state the various water’s health benefits in a way for the non-experts to understand its importance. Nothing would please me more than to converting you into “ waterholics”.
Health benefits of drinking water
Keeping well hydrated is vital for your health. Yet, many people do not consume enough water every day. Drinking an adequate amount gives you health benefits that span almost all systems of your body. Check out the advantages of drinking water below:
1. Helps in weight loss
Do not wait to feel thirsty to drink water because thirst indicates dehydration. Many times, thirst is mistaken for hunger and the person tends to eat more leading to weight gain. Drinking water to lose weight at regular intervals as stated above, will prevent thirst and overeating and thus helps to lose weight and maintain it.
2. Prevents heartburn
Gastric acid that is secreted in the stomach helps in the digestion of food. Its secretion is more due to reasons such as regular long hours of fasting. The inner lining of the stomach is exposed directly to the gastric acid or to the spicy and oily food that you eat.
Drinking water as recommended keeps diluting this acid and prevents aggravation of acidity and the development of peptic ulcers.
3. Prevents constipation
Drinking adequate water prevents hard stools and facilitates proper evacuation of the bowels. If you suffer from chronic constipation, drink plenty of fluids every day.
Drinking water makes you stay well hydrated and is a natural method to ease constipation. More water in the stool makes it softer and helps it to pass out more smoothly. Low fluids in the body is a common cause of constipation.
4. Drinking water prevents kidney stones
Kidney stones are formed due to regular deposits of uric acid and calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys. New deposits keep on getting accumulating on the previously formed crystals and they grow in size over time and form stones. Regular drinking of water keeps flushing the crystals through the urine and prevents stone formation.
5. Prevents gallbladder and hepatic stones
Proper evacuation of stools, promotes the secretion of bile. This helps to flush the gall bladder and the liver and prevents stone formation.
Adequate water intake helps the gallbladder empty properly and keeps bile from accumulating inside it. This protects against gallstone formation.
It is a very effective way to dissolve gallstones naturally. Drinking at least six to eight glasses of water per day helps in the smooth production of bile.
6. Prevents headache
As a result of proper flushing of the kidneys and the gall bladder, the toxins from the blood are eliminated. There are some toxins that cause headaches and their removal helps to prevent them.
7. Prevents arthritis and gout
The increase in uric acid levels in the blood gives rise to two problems: gout and kidney stones. Drinking adequate water as mentioned above flushes the kidneys and prevents excessive accumulation of uric acid in the blood and the onset of these problems is prevented.
Less water intake could lead to dehydration which can make your arthritis worse.
About 80% of cartilage tissue is composed of water. Adequate drinking of water helps better transportation of nutrients between cells. This encourages the growth of cartilage tissue and helps to maintain healthy cartilage in the joints, which prevents arthritis or reduces its inflammation if present.
Water is also an essential component of synovial fluid, which allows your joints to move and function properly. This helps prevent arthritis
8. Prevents atherosclerosis
Excess uric acid in the blood causes the platelets to clump together. These get deposited on the inner walls of the arteries. They form plaques on the walls and reduce the lumen of the arteries. This is called atherosclerosis. Drinking plenty of water flushes out the excess uric acid as mentioned above and prevents atherosclerosis.
9. Drinking water prevents heart attack
Atherosclerosis is the main reason for a heart attack because the reduction in the lumen of the artery leads to a reduced blood supply to the heart. As explained above, drinking plenty of water greatly reduces the chances of a heart attack by preventing atherosclerosis.
10. Benefits on high blood pressure (hypertension)
People with adequate intake of water, respond better to antihypertensive medicines due to loss of sodium through urination and sweat. Sodium is taboo in high blood pressure and that is why salt, which contains high amounts of sodium, is contraindicated in hypertensive patients.
11. Regulates body temperature
Staying hydrated is vital to maintaining your body temperature. You lose water through sweat during physical activity and in hot weather.
Sweating keeps your body cool, but if you do not recompensate the water loss through adequate water intake your body temperature will rise due to the loss of electrolytes and plasma when dehydrated.
If you’re sweating a lot, make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and keep your body temperature.
12. Benefits on skin
Skin stays healthier and attains a healthy glow due to the loss of toxins through more sweating when you drink more water. Adequate water intake keeps your skin well hydrated and promotes collagen production and improves skin appearance.
13. Drinking water improves metabolic rate
Your metabolic rate gets a boost and the person feels more energetic when you drink an adequate quantity of water. An activated metabolism has been associated with a positive impact on energy levels.
Studies claim that drinking water increases your metabolism by up to 25% and this increase lasts for nearly an hour. That means if you drink water throughout the day say at hourly intervals it will you’ll keep your metabolism at its best performance all day.
14. Benefits on cancer
Alternative medicine advises drinking water in the treatment of certain types of cancers because a well-hydrated body means better blood circulation.
And a better circulation means your immune cells are able to reach more corners including the cancer cells in the tumor — in short a better immune force against the cancer cells.
Better circulation also means the medicines that you take are able to reach the diseased body part better.
How much water should you drink daily?
The normal requirement of water every day, in ounces, is weight in lbs divided by 2. So if you weigh about 180 to 200 lbs, you require about 100 ounces of water every day, which is roughly = 3 liters, which again is roughly = 13 cups.
However, some experts recommend an 8×8 rule: It means you should drink eight glasses of 8 ounces capacity every day.
Though 3 liters is the requirement as per the say of some medical books, there are some who advocate 4 to 5 liters. And, in my opinion, a little extra water will not harm but only benefit.
However, this quantity increases in certain circumstances. For example, in hot weather, you perspire more and thus tend to lose more body fluids through sweating, or a laborer working in the sun similarly sweats more and loses more body fluids. Such extra loss of body fluids has to be replenished with an extra intake of water.
In certain diseases affecting the heart, the kidneys, the thyroid, the liver, and the adrenal glands, there are limitations to the intake of water and you should consult your physician in such cases.
How should you drink water during the day?
This amount of water you drink should be spaced over the time that you are awake and not in just 2 or 3 sittings. Space it throughout the day so that water’s health benefits stay accrued.
- From the time you get up in the morning to breakfast.
- Breakfast to lunch
- Lunch to snacks
- Snacks to dinner
- And dinner to bedtime.
Today, we see people carrying mineral water bottles and the embarrassment of carrying water bottles does not exist anymore. So carrying a bottle of pure and clean water from home in your briefcase or your purse should not pose a problem. The health benefits of adequate intake of water are worth the effort.