The Health Benefits of Drinking Even More Water (This Summer and Year-Round)
I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man. – Henry David Thoreau
Did you know that water makes up about 60 percent of your body? As your most important macronutrient, water is necessary for all of your bodily fluids and is involved in every single bodily function.
Unlike camels or cacti, we humans cannot store water within our bodies for very long. We produce about 8 percent of our water needs through biochemical processes in the body — the remaining 92 percent must be consumed through foods and beverages. Without clean water, we cannot thrive. (And speaking of clean water, studies are continuing to find surprising contaminants in our tap water supply.)
Functions of Water in the Human Body
Water is refreshing and tastes great — our bodies crave it! But what’s truly amazing about water is its ability to multi-task throughout the body.
Here is just a partial list of the crucial roles water plays in your life:
- It improves oxygen delivery to the cells.
- It helps to keep the blood thin and free-flowing.
- It helps to transport nutrients throughout the body.
- It aids in the digestive process.
- It cushions bones, joints and organs.
- It helps us regulate body temperature.
- It helps to keep lymph free-flowing so it can properly remove wastes and toxins.
- It prevents tissues from adhering and sticking together.
- It lubricates the joints (one of the advanced signs of dehydration is joint pain).
- It is a conductor, so it helps cells “communicate.”
- It facilitates the body’s natural healing process.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
So exactly how much water do you need? Requirements vary depending on climate, activity level, diet, weight and even the medications you take. We often hear the “8×8 Rule” — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. (According to the Mayo Clinic, this is probably as good a rule as any.) However, try not to exceed a gallon per day, as too much water can actually cause dehydration since it simply depletes the body of minerals.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink — by then your body is already in the early stages of dehydration. It’s a good idea to sip water slowly all day long. Add some lemon to your water help alkalize the body and a pinch of sea salt (instead of table salt) to get some electrolytes in.
Bottled water, which is often tainted with chemicals, is becoming a less popular option due to the waste generated by the plastic containers. If you opt for tap water, use a water filter to remove chlorine, fluoride, chemicals, bacteria and heavy metals.
Here are some excellent water filter options: