Water is now the second most popular drink (behind soft drinks), and Americans often carry bottled water everywhere they go. Drinking water throughout the day is crucial to our health. Tossing out sugary soda can help people avoid the risk of obesity, stroke, and other heart problems . We should think of water as an essential nutrient for our body needs; it's present in liquids, foods, and plain water . You can bet that healthy people don't skip drinking plenty of water.
So how much water should you drink? The amount of water people need per day is ultimately up for debate. While the old suggestion to drink eight glasses per day may be more of a guideline, keep in mind that studies suggest that adults need 9 to 16 cups of water per day. You may need more depending on age, health, and activity level.
Your body is about 60% water and if water intake doesn't equal output, it is easy to become dehydrated. Sometimes we overlook how our bodies shed water everyday. Fluid loss happens when we sweat, exercise, get sick, and go about many routine activities. It's smart to get in the habit of keeping a water bottle on hand.
Let's take a look at 10 reasons to make sure you're drinking enough water every day:
- Control your calories. Drinking more water is not weight-loss magic, but it does help curb appetite and boost metabolism. Numerous studies have shown the connection between water intake and losing a few pounds. Barbara Rolls, PhD, a researcher for Penn State, says that "what works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake ."
- Muscle power and recovery. Your final set of squats at the gym is just that much harder when muscles get tired faster from not having enough water. Stay hydrated after your workout too; this helps prevent post-exercise fatigue and exhaustion . Water should be an integral part of any active lifestyle.
- Look good with clearer skin. No one likes clogged pores and acne; when certain toxins in the body are not flushed out it leads to irritated and inflamed skin . Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD, tells us also that "dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration ."
- Maintain body fluid balance. Our bodies are mostly water, and having the needed fluids to move waste and toxins out of the body is essential. Water helps transport nutrients and may aid in the prevention of coronary heart disease  and some types of bladder , colon, and breast cancer .
- Boost your brain and productivity. Water contributes to a refreshed and improved state of mind. A London-based study found a link between students who brought water into an exam room and better grades. So fill your water bottle to kick the headaches, bad mood, and slow performance caused by even mild dehydration .
- Promote kidney function. Our kidneys clear out waste and sift away what our bodies don't need. Kidneys filter about 200 quarts (50 gallons) of blood every day. Drinking lots of water keeps your kidneys running smoothly, and may also decrease the risk of kidney stones.
- Protect your joints and tissue. Water is key in keeping the cartilage—a cushioning tissue that is about 85% water—around our joints hydrated and healthy. Adequate water intake goes a long way in alleviating aches and pains in joints, as well as mitigating muscle cramps and strains .
- Wipe away fatigue. Next time you feel fatigued or sluggish, drinking water may be just what you need. Feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration; so drink up and bust that sleepiness!
- Keep things going. There are so many functions in the body that water keeps working right such as: maintaining normal body temperature, protecting the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues , and lubricating the colon to control digestive processes.
- Fight illness and feel better. If you're stuck with a stuffy nose, inhaling steam from boiling water or gargling with salt water can help break up the congestion. From inside the body, water hasn't been proven to beat a cold with one punch, so don't skip the cold medicine, however, staying hydrated does enable your body to function at its best and fight sickness quicker.
All in all, most of us would do well to drink a bit more H2O. No need to over do it, but keeping your water consumption up at a healthy level is paramount for maintaining a fresh mind, strong body, and active life.
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