Who doesn’t crave cold soda and warm sugary drinks at times? But not only are these expensive, compared to water, they can also affect your health says Sarah Rodrigues.
The human body may seem substantial – a mass of bone, muscle and skin – but as we know, it is largely made up of water. Around 60 percent of an adult human is water– that is more than half!
People excrete water on a daily basis mostly through sweat and urine but even through breathing! Because of this, it is important to keep replacing those fluids. But why? What function does water serve in our bodies?
Water would not be present in our bodies if it were not needed for human health and wellbeing. Every single cell and organ of the body needs water to function properly. Ninety per cent of our blood is water and it is necessary for carrying oxygen around the body, so keeping your blood healthy and circulating well is vital.
Water is also needed to make our food consumption work properly: if we eat without drinking water, the digestive system is affected. It cannot get the nutrients from the food that it needs, and it cannot expel waste efficiently, which leads to constipation and stomach aches.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking
water also makes you smarter! Imagine your brain as a sponge. When it is shrivelled up and dried out, it is less able to take in the goodness of what you are learning at school. Keeping it well hydrated makes it far more receptive to knowledge – meaning that your memory and ability to think clearly are boosted.
This is why dehydration or the deficit of water in the body leads to fatigue. If you think about doing something that involves energy on an empty stomach, you would probably think that was foolish, wouldn’t you? It may come as a surprise to many that water is just as important as food not just for sports and performances, but also for everyday life. When you are not sufficiently hydrated, it means that you – your brain, your body, everything – have to work harder to keep functioning. This is tiring, in the same way that ordinary tasks are more tiring when you have not had enough sleep.
Although we may feel the effects of these processes, the processes themselves are happening on the inside - and it’s easy to ignore things that we can’t easily see. So what about the external effects of not drinking enough water? Water is fantastic for your skin. Think of a sponge: do you want your skin to look like a thirsty, parched one or a plump, moisturised one? The latter, of course. Although you can use loads of products on your face to help it look smoother and dewier, the best thing you can do for your skin is to nourish it from the inside with what you drink=. Water also plays a huge role in keeping skin clear and blemishfree. This is because it carries waste throughout the body, allowing it to get rid of toxins that can cause skin problems. Imagine the difference between a running stream and a pool of stagnant water. Water running frequently through your body enables your skin to be like the stream, rather than the pool.
“Drinking water hydrates the cells once it is absorbed into the bloodstream and is filtered by the kidneys,” explains dermatologist Margarita Lolis, MD. “So, at the cellular level, drinking water is great as it flushes the system and hydrates our bodies overall.”
But why isn’t it just enough to drink fluids like soft drinks, juices, coffee or tea? Why does it have to be water?
These other drinks – soft drinks and juices in particular – are. often full of sugar, and even the low-sugar varieties may contain lots of chemicals. Therefore, even though they are putting liquid into your body, they are also putting toxins into your body. Sugar, for example, can affect the quality of your skin, as well as causing weight gain and tooth decay. Coffee and tea contain caffeine, which causes dehydration – the complete opposite of what water does! It is fine to consume these beverages for a break, but they should not make up the bulk of your fluid intake.
So how much water is the right amount? Most people, including doctors in the United Kingdom, agree that you should aim for around two litres each day or about eight regular-sized glasses. This is a good baseline, but you may need more if you are physically active, or if the weather is very warm. It is also a good rule to drink before you feel thirsty, as well as when you are hungry and before you eat, since the brain often confuses thirst signals with hunger ones, leading to the unnecessary snacking.
So, reach for that glass of water and junk the juice.