Benefits of drinking water | How much water to drink in a day

Diet
Coach Kannan
January 13,2023

Water is crucial for human life. The importance of water for the body can be guessed by its requirement and role in every life process. The core functions of water in our body are lubrication of organs, and optimization of chemical and electrolytic processes. Apart from these two there are many indirect benefits of drinking water, which include healthier skin, weight management and mental alertness. As all of the body’s functions depend on water, it is necessary to drink an adequate amount of water daily. Surprisingly, water also has an important role to play in weight loss and weight maintenance.

Why is water important for our body?

Water is second only to oxygen in terms of its importance to human life. It’s critical to keep the body working smoothly and to feel healthy. Water is required for almost all of the body’s essential systems to function and thrive. 

benefits of drinking water

As you can see, water is a major portion of total body weight and of various vital organs. Humans can survive for days without eating but only a few days without drinking water.

Water is the core constituent of lean muscles, body fat, bones, blood, digestive fluids, urine, and sweat. All cells in the body use water. The cartilage present in joints and vertebral discs is about 80% water. More than 90% of blood is water that transports oxygen throughout the body. 

Because the body cannot retain water, we require fresh supplies daily. In short, the importance of water in the diet is no less than other essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

Also Read: Indian Diet Plan For Healthy Life

Functions of water in the body

Water performs many important roles in the human body, as follows:

  • Removing waste from the body

A substantial benefit of drinking water is that it enables the body to expel waste via sweat, urine, and feces (stools). Water helps the kidneys eliminate waste from the blood. Water is also beneficial for preventing constipation. 

  • Transporting nutrients

The importance of water in the body is far beyond just quenching thirst. It is known as the universal solvent as it dissolves the maximum number of substances. This solvent effect allows chemicals to be transported around the body more easily. Blood, the body’s transport fluid, is mostly made of water. Blood carries oxygen in the body, and appropriate water intake facilitates that.

  • Digestion 

One of the most vital functions of water in the body is to help with digestion. Saliva, which is present in your mouth and lubricates the digestive pathway, is mainly made of water. In this way, water helps in the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients by the body. In the process of digestion, our intestines absorb the water and convert feces (stools) from watery to solid. Water is also required to enhance the digestion of soluble fiber by breaking it down during digestion. 

  • Helping chemical reactions 

At any time there are hundreds of chemical reactions taking place in your body. Think of it as daily maintenance and upgrades to your body. 

 

Water is essential to all these chemical reactions taking place smoothly.

 

Water is used in multiple enzymatic activities as a mediator to break chemical bonds or to establish bonds by removing it from a protein. Also, water stores ample heat, is neutral, and has a pH of 7 which means it is neither acidic nor basic. These properties make it an excellent medium for chemical reactions. Drinking enough water daily is critical for these important chemical reactions to take place smoothly.

  • Balancing electrolytes

You will have likely heard of dehydration and how it can cause serious health problems.

Dehydration causes the blood to become increasingly concentrated, which could result in an electrolytic (sodium and potassium) imbalance. These electrolytes are required for healthy muscle, cardiac, and brain function and dehydration disrupts this balance of electrolytes. Dehydration could also result in reduced blood volume and pressure.

This highlights the vital importance of water in the diet and ensuring daily intake of adequate water. 

  • Regulating body temperature

An integral function of water in the body is regulating its temperature. The human body can only operate within a narrow temperature range, and the set point of the human body is 37°C. Temperatures higher or lower than the set point result in metabolic malfunctioning. Water has a high heat capacity which means it stores heat efficiently. This property helps it to store and release heat via sweat. In this way, water helps to maintain the body temperature at 37°C despite fluctuations in the external environment.

  • Lubricating and protecting tissues

Water is a vital component of most fluids that maintain and lubricate body tissues. Here are some examples:

  • cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spine
  • amniotic fluid that cushions the fetus during pregnancy
  • pleural fluid that lubricates the lungs
  • digestive juices that allow easy food passage during digestion
  • mucus that lines the gut 
  • synovial fluid that lubricates joints 

These are a few examples of fluids that water is needed for.

All water that you include in your diet is used for these important functions in the body. These are among the many benefits of drinking enough water.

Also Read: Indian Food Chart For Weight Loss

Signs you are not drinking enough water

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Tiring easily
  • Dizziness
  • poor concentration
  • muscle cramps and 
  • low urine output

One way to check your level of hydration is the colour of your urine.  There is research to suggest that this is indicative of your hydration levels and different colours indicate different levels of hydration.

Use the below chart to assess hydration levels.

how much drinking water in a day

How much water should you drink in a day?

Considering the importance of water in the body, its adequate intake on a daily basis is necessary.

How much water we should drink daily depends on our body size, metabolic activity, weather, diet, and physical activity.

Based on the official recommendation published by the European Food Safety Authority in 2010, the fluid intake requirements for adults are as follows:

  • Men: 2.0 litres
  • Women 1.6 litres 

It can generally be assumed that 20% of fluid intake comes from other foods including solid foods consumed, and so the above reflects the suggested fluid intake after adjusting for this.

Fruits and vegetables, like watermelon, cucumber, and spinach, are 100% water. Besides that, milk (87% water) and herbal teas are composed primarily of water. Even coffee and soda contribute to your routine water requirements.

You should remember that our water requirements are highly individualized.  

A person living in a humid climate would sweat and need more water than a person living at an altitude.  How much water you need not only depends on the climate, the pollution, the level of physical activity you undertake, but also on your body type.

 

A simple rule-of-thumb to follow:  Listen to your body and drink water throughout the day to prevent you getting thirsty.

 

You can satisfy your need for water both by drinking water as well as by having vegetables and fruits with a high water content. 

Benefits of drinking water

The following benefits of drinking water clarify the importance of water in our diet and life:

  • Prevent exhaustion

According to doctors, many patients who complain of exhaustion do not adequately hydrate themselves during the day. While water may be enough for hydration, many people prefer sugary drinks, which produce an energy collapse later in the day.

  • Healthy skin

Dehydration might cause the thickening of the blood. It regains part of the water it needs by absorbing skin moisture which results in dry skin and premature wrinkling.  One function of water in the body is to regulate blood, so appropriate water intake helps improve overall skin condition.

  • Improve physical activity

Drinking more water can help improve performance during exercise. Dehydration affects performance in prolonged activities such as long runs or cycle rides.

  • Losing weight

Water can also help you lose weight if you drink it instead of carbonated drinks and beverages. In this way, drinking enough water daily can help you eat fewer calories, fats, sugar and salt. Preloading with water before food intake can reduce overeating by producing a sensation of fullness. As a result you end up eating a little lesser in your meals.

  • Optimal brain function

The importance of water in our diet is evident from the fact that dehydration impairs memory, focus, and energy. Water makes up about 75% of the brain; that’s why it is necessary for proper brain function.

Importance of water for weight loss

It’s important for your health to keep your body hydrated.  Thirst is a way for your body to indicate that it is dehydrated. 

 

But can you differentiate between hunger and thirst?

 

Often, we mistake thirst for hunger and end up consuming food or sugary/ high-calorie beverages instead of simply drinking water.  This leads to consumption of unnecessary calories and clearly, this will not help weight loss and fat loss.

how much drinking water in a day

In fact, in this modern lifestyle where there is easy access to processed foods everywhere and food delivery services abound, many of us don’t really feel true hunger anymore.  Your brain just tricks you into eating something, when it sees something you like.  This also means that many of us don’t tolerate hunger well anymore and consume excessive calories to stave off bad moods, headaches, energy crashes and other issues that may be caused by other factors such as lack of sleep, and stress.

Here are some ideas to use water to help you with weight loss:

  • Drink 1-2 glasses of water before meals. This can help you feel a little fuller and you will end up eating a little less.
  • If you think you are hungry, don’t reach for that snack just yet. Instead, slowly sip 1-2 glasses of water.
  • Wait for 10-15 minutes after drinking water.
  • If you still feel hunger pangs, then go ahead and get something to eat.  Choose healthy foods over unhealthy, processed foods or sugary/ high-calorie beverages.

Using water in this way is one of the biggest benefits of drinking enough water as it helps with weight loss and weight maintenance.

Conclusion

Water is essential for humans to survive and thrive. It is the driver of all necessary processes in the human body. That’s why it has a central importance in the diet. There are many benefits of drinking water with the main benefit being hydration. Hydration leads to a fresh, focused, and active mind and body by maintaining body functions like electrolyte balance, heat storage, and blood flow. It is, therefore, necessary to drink plenty of water and take fluid-based foods to meet daily water requirements of the body. An added bonus is that drinking enough water helps with weight loss too!

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