By Michael A. Smith, MDWe all need water, but why do we need it? Let’s count the ways.
For starters, a lack of water can lead to something called “volume depletion,” which is when there isn’t enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. As a matter of fact, even slight drops in your total water volume can drain you of your energy and make you feel tired.
Water is also crucial for flushing out toxins, carrying nutrients to your cells, and providing a healthy environment for your ears, nose and throat.
So, you may already know that we need plenty of water to survive and thrive, but let’s explore three lesser-known benefits of water that you may not be aware of.
More Water, Less BloatingFirst off, water improves digestion. It creates an aqueous environment that helps digestive enzymes function properly and break-down foods.
Water also helps dissolve soluble fiber in your digestive system, facilitating better nutrient absorption and the elimination of excess fat and sugar calories.
Water Keeps You from OvereatingWater can also help you manage your weight. Drinking water with a meal distends the stomach, and this distention helps signal to the brain that you’re full.
Drinking water before each meal has been shown to help promote weight loss, according to a clinical study presented at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.1
Brenda Davy, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech and senior author of the study, says that drinking just two eight-ounce glasses of water before meals helps people manage their weight.
Dr. Davy, in an August 2010 interview with WebMD Health News, said:
"We presented results of the first randomized controlled intervention trial demonstrating that increased water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy. We found in earlier studies that middle-aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during the meal."2
Joints and Muscles: The Wetter the BetterFinally, water lubricates joints and hydrates muscles. Lubricated joints feel better, and hydrated muscles metabolize and eliminate toxins better.
With healthy joints and muscles, you can exercise longer and harder. Make it a point to be well-hydrated the next time you work out — the results may surprise you.
The 8 x 8 Water RuleHow much water should you drink every day? Many people follow the "8 x 8 rule" — drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day, which is roughly two liters a day. This fits in pretty well with the recommendations from The Institute of Medicine, which advises two-to-three liters a day.
Your (In)TakeDo you drink enough water during the day? Do you struggle to keep hydrated? Please let us know in the comments!
- News release, American Chemical Society. 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston, Aug 22–26, 2010. Brenda Davy, Ph.D. Associate professor, Virginia Tech, Balcksburg, VA.
- Bill Hendrick. Water May Be Secret Weapon in Weight Loss. August 2010. WebMD Health News.
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