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Why Drink Water? How Water and Health are Connected

Eating Well - March 5, 2015



Water and your overall health.

Water accounts for 60 percent of our body—or about 11 gallons or 92 pounds inside a 155-pound person—and is essential to every cell. We use water to cool our body with sweat, to circulate oxygen and fuel to our organs and take away waste products via blood. But how does it impact your breath, muscles, skin—and brain function? Find out here.

Brain

Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation intact. When you’re well-hydrated, you can also think through a problem more easily. Researchers hypothesize that not having enough water could reduce oxygen flow to the brain or temporarily shrink neurons—or being thirsty could simply distract you.

Mouth

Water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste—and can even promote cavities.

Heart

Dehydration lowers your blood volume, so your heart must work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and get enough oxygen to your cells, which makes everyday activities like walking up stairs—as well as exercise—more difficult.

Bloodstream

Your body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface (this is why your face gets red during exercise), resulting in more blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. When you’re dehydrated, however, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to widen, so you stay hotter.

Limbs

When you’re well hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients and removes waste efficiently so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints. Contrary to popular belief, muscle cramps do not appear to be related to dehydration, but, instead, to muscle fatigue, according to Sam Cheuvront, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist for the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.

Skin

When a person is severely dehydrated, skin is less elastic. This is different than dry skin, which is usually the result of soap, hot water and exposure to dry air. And, no, unfortunately, drinking lots of water won’t prevent wrinkles.

Kidneys

Your kidneys need water to filter waste from the blood and excrete it in urine. Keeping hydrated may also help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If you are severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working, causing toxins to build up in your body.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission




Comments



35 Comments so far
  1. Craig - March 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Your body has a system in place to tell you when you need water. It’s called thirst. Drink when your thirsty, perhaps a bit more. But one can drink too much water which can cause problems as well.

  2. Laurel Adams - March 9, 2015 at 11:07 am

    All of this info makes me re-think why I need to drink water (I don’t drink much of it or fluids actually). But I don’t see a daily recommendation of amount. Other than that, putting the info into such specific terms does make me realize that I should, sigh, start drinking water. How many glasses would be a helpful addition to the above.

  3. M. Coleman - March 9, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I would have loved to see mentioned in this article the difference between drinking water vs. another liquid such as soda or juice. My son doesn’t like drinking plain water. His argument to your body needing it is it doesn’t have to come from plain water; as long as your body gets fluid of some kinds it’s good enough.

  4. suzanne - March 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Love your articles. Thanks I learn a lot
    Suzanne

  5. Phyllis Greiner - March 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    How much water a day should you drink??

  6. Margaret Peterson - March 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Thirty years ago I had a health crisis and abdominal surgery. Upon discharge I vowed to ‘mend my ways’ by letting go of diet soft drinks and opt for black coffee, tea and good spring water. I continued to eat as usual and must report my weight is within 7 lbs. over a 30 yr period. I am 82 1/2 now, on no medicines, use LifeLine Screenings annually and stay away from negative people. I walk a lot, travel whenever anyone says “do you want to go?”, drive a new Hybrid car and enjoy being as active or lazy as I wish. Life is good. LifeLine Screening augments my lifestyle perfectly.
    Thank You so much,
    Margaret Peterson,
    Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408.

  7. harold hufton - March 9, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Very good INFO

  8. Ellie Mason - March 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I appreciate all the tips on why we need to stay hydrated. At times it’s easy to slack off and not drink enough water.

  9. Sherry - March 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Some people say drinking too much water is not good for your health. I drink water all day and love it. R they wrong

  10. michael andes - March 9, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you for your concise presentation of important facts regarding drinking of water. This a very good public service.

  11. Donald Hixon - March 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I drink a lot of water —good to know this is good! Thanks for all of your information regarding health !

  12. Donna Murryn - March 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I consume at least 80 ounces of water per day. I am 64 but look like 45. I have always consumed lots of water. People tell me my skin is flawless. If I don’t drink lots of water, I get thirsty and crave it.

  13. carolyn - March 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    more good reasons for keeping the WATER flowing in!!

  14. ANGELA Brown - March 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    loved the information, Great reminder! I just wonder how to regulate which type of water is better than the other for for types ?Example :I struggle with Uriic Acid sometimes ,I ‘m always vaselating on “Should I drink dispelled or PH type water Coconut water more “? I can’t tell when my body has enough because when I exercise hard like golfing,biking, strenuous hiking in humid weather etc.. My legs,arms just my skin has white layer of salts particles that can fill a jar!!

  15. BLANCA COBOS - March 9, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for this information. I hardly drink water.
    Will try to drink more water now.
    Blanca

  16. Lisa Welge - March 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Great article on water! Seniors are at such risk for dehydration and generally rarely drink water…mainly just to take a pill. They usually like their coffee all day or sometimes tea. I’m curious if you have ever heard about alkaline water?

  17. bessie - March 9, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    like this great news

  18. Shirley Halsey - March 10, 2015 at 12:51 am

    I drink a lot of water but I have muscle cramps..mostly .in my biceps, feet, and legs..what am I lacking??
    thankx
    Shirley

  19. Sue - March 10, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Shirley,
    You’re possibly lacking potassium (eat bananas, oranges, drink O.J.), or magnesium – in vitamins. Just a thought.

  20. Janet Quigley - March 10, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Thanks for this valuable info. I know I don’t drink enough water but I have been trying to increase my water intake. After reading this info I certainly will.

  21. Cheryl Long - March 10, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I used to get muscle cramps in my calves at night; but I started taking a combination of calcium citrate, magnesium and potassium before bed every night. I heard that it works best when our bodies are at rest. It may be that your body is esp. lacking in potassium. Anyway, since then (and that was several years ago) I’ve not had those awful Charlie horses. Find some food sources high in those minerals too. Hope this helps.

  22. Kathy Barnett - March 10, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Good and valuable information to know; thanks!

  23. Bill McDade - March 10, 2015 at 9:44 am

    For Shirley Halsey,

    Probably potassium. Try a banana a day.

    Seaborne Observer

  24. Ardean Williams - March 10, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I drink 3 16 oz bottles of water + daily, I have severe foot & leg cramps & numbness on right .?

  25. Marthaozo - March 10, 2015 at 10:41 am

    I drink 6 16.9 fl oz bottle of water a day.. Is that too much? How much water is too much? Don’t want to have fluid overload.. Thanks and keep up the good work saving lives.

  26. Morris Haynes - March 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Drink Lots Of water. It’s Good For You.

  27. angela - March 10, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Shirley.. sometimes people drink too much water so they deplete themselves of minerals.. try eating bananas and dates which are high in potassium also you could add a pinch of sea salt to your water or also you can juice your veges instead of drinking a lot of water..Cramps are usually caused by not enough potassium or perhaps magnesium.. try supplements if you have to..

  28. Bev - March 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    water is good

  29. Beth - March 10, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I used to have multiple sclerosis and my husband had acid reflux, migraine headaches, knee pain, back pain, sinusitis, arthritis, and he was on oxygen. We found out that it was the kind of water that we drank…just drinking bottle water or filtered water wasn’t enough! Easy-cheesy… and cheap, too!

  30. Beth - March 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Shirley… your water does not have enough ionic minerals or alkalinity in it, which makes it basically ‘dead’ water. If you take supplements, but the water molecule is still to large to pass across the cell wall, any supplements won’t work.

  31. Thomas Millary - March 10, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Water is good for your health and it is good to drink.

  32. Jay - March 10, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Shirley and others
    Exercise and other reasons can cause muscle cramps, especially in the evening/night. I found that a package of mustard (or 2) taken as soon as the cramps start will alleviate most or all of the cramping. Mustard contains magnesium, which is one of the many minerals which get depleted easily.

  33. Marvin M Murdaugh - March 11, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for the info

  34. Theresa - March 11, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    If you are having muscle problems it may be your statin drugs , they will kill you by depleting cq10 and are all around dangerous .

  35. john - March 12, 2015 at 12:42 am

    our requirements for water varies greatly between a person’s size, activity and ambient temperature of his surroundings. The experts try to generalize about how much we need, but our thirst will tell us how much water is too little or too much


35 Responses to “Why Drink Water? How Water and Health are Connected”


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