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7 Benefits of drinking water and why it is essential for our bodies
We know drinking water and keeping out hydration levels up are essential, after all 60% of the human body is water - but how do we know we are drinking enough water for our bodies and what are the health benefits of drinking more water? We’ve sorted the fact from the fiction.
What is water
Water is absolutely vital to all plant and animal life on the planet. Very simply, water is made up of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen (making H2O). 60% of the human body is made up of water, making up many of our cells and vital organs. The brain is one of the organs which contain the highest percentage of water (and we’ll explain a little later why water is therefore so essential for sufficient brain function). Water also regulates our body temperature, helps us process nutrients, assists our bodies in getting rid of waste and protects tissue, our joints and even our spinal cord. So as you can see, it plays an absolutely vital role in our bodies.
Does water have calories?
No – plain water is calorie free. Of course, it contains traces of minerals – including calcium, magnesium and zinc to name a handful but it contains no calories. Calories come from the three nutrients in our diet, carbohydrates, protein and fats. If you opt for a flavoured or carbonated water though, then these varieties may include a small amount of calories. For example, lemon flavoured water is very popular and therefore does contain an extremely small number of calories. This is similar for some types of fizzy water too, like tonic which may contain a small amount of sugar.
What percentage of the body is water?
As mentioned above, around 60% of the human body is made up of water. When you think about the fact that 16% of the body is made up of skin (which is the largest human organ), it puts it into perspective of how much the human body relies on water! The brain, kidneys and heart are amongst the organs with the highest water content – with teeth and bones the lowest. Yes, even our bones contain water! We lose water on a daily basis, through sweat and excretion and so it’s essential we remember to keep our body hydrated.
Benefits of drinking 2 litres of water a day
1. It keeps your organs safe and functioning
Think of water as a cushion in the body which is keeping everything safe and protected, from our cells to our organs.
2. It cleanses our bodies inside and out
Our digestive system survives on water – without it our bowels wouldn’t work in the same way, and we wouldn’t be able to sufficiently sweat or urinate. These basic bodily functions are essential for our wellbeing.
3. It maintains our blood pressure
As we’ve learnt the body is made up of a huge amount of water – and the blood is no different! Without water it can cause our blood to thicken, so water is essential to keeping our blood pressure in check.
4. It delivers oxygen throughout our body
Blood is essential for delivering oxygen across the body – and as blood contains a lot of water, hydration is important.
5. It promotes good brain function
The brain is one of the organs which has the highest water percentage and so without sufficient water, you may find it difficult to concentrate/remain alert.
6. It makes nutrients and minerals accessible to our body
Nutrients and minerals dissolve in water and are transported across our body. Pretty important stuff!
7. It reduces the possibility of kidney damage
Our kidneys are responsible for regulating fluids within the body and so keeping on top of hydration really gives our kidneys a helping hand.
Does drinking water help skin?
It is certainly true that water is important for your skin’s shape and form. Some say that hydration gives you a ‘glow’, but the truth is little evidence that drinking a specific amount of water every day will change the look and feel of your skin. Having said that, drinking a sufficient amount of water cannot do any harm to the skin.
How to drink more water every day?
So now we know how important it is to drink enough water – how do we actually do it? Hydration can also come from other fluids and even foods past just a glass of water. For example – eating foods with high water content, eating some kinds of soups and stews. In terms of other drinks, milk and teas also count towards hydration.
If you find plain water boring, there are some delicious ways you can make it more interesting. Take a look some infused water recipes to get more ideas.
A top tip to consuming more water is to take small sips throughout the day. You could do this by always having a glass of water by you, or filling up a water bottle and sipping throughout the day.
This One Simple Change is likely to feel more manageable than just drinking a glass of water all in one.
If you are struggling to get your children to drink water, it might be a good idea to talk to them about the importance to it in relation to plants. For example, a plant might wilt if you don’t water it, humans are exactly the same!
What are your tricks and hacks to keep hydrated?
Medical News Today