Every day, you hear that it’s important to drink more water. But why? You feel fine, so why should you increase the amount of water you drink? It turns out that there are a wide variety of reasons to drink more water.
The traditional wisdom is that you should drink eight 8-oz glasses of water every day. Is that accurate? It sounds like a lot, but that’s actually not enough. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of water every day, and women should drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) every day. How much does that look like?
Picture a 2-liter bottle of soda. Men should aim to drink one and three quarters 2-liter bottles full of water every day, while women should aim for one and a quarter of 2-liter bottles.
Better yet, get a 24-ounce water bottle. Men should aim to drink five full water bottles every day. Women should aim to drink nearly four full water bottles every day.
Without making this list long enough to bore you, here are 11 great reasons to drink more water.
1. You’re constantly losing water
According to Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.”
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than you consume. Are you drinking enough water to compensate for how much your body is getting rid of? Are you sure?
2. Your body is 60% water
Your body requires water for a surprising number of functions including digestion, absorption of nutrients, blood circulation, the creation of saliva, transporting nutrients, and maintaining steady body temperature.
Failing to drink enough water can slow down all these processes. If you don’t feel right, drinking more water may help you feel better if your body isn’t doing what it needs to due to lack of hydration.
3. Water reduces your heart attack risk
A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that drinking more water decreased the risk of developing coronary heart disease while drinking other liquids increased that risk.
This is because drinking water helps prevent a buildup of plaque that can lead to a heart attack. Drinking more water seems like a fairly simple way to reduce your risk of having a heart attack.
4. Drinking water can improve physical performance
While you can start to feel the effects of dehydration after losing only 2% of your body’s water content, athletes can lose 6-10% of their water weight from sweating. This can lead to symptoms like reduced ability to maintain the temperature of your body, reduced motivation, and increased fatigue, which can make exercise feel physically and mentally harder.
When you’re in the middle of an intense workout, you may not want to stop and drink water, but you’ll have a better, easier workout if you do.
5. Dehydration can impact your mood and memory
Studies have shown that only 1.36% water loss has a negative effect on the mood and concentration of women while increasing their reported rate of headaches. At the same time, losing 1.59% of their water weight caused men to suffer from increased anxiety and fatigue while experiencing a reduced function in their working memory. If you’re feeling rotten or foggy, try drinking water to positively affect your mood and memory.
6. Water helps you lose weight
According to Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan, “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.”
The next time you think you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water instead of reaching for a snack. Most likely, your body is actually thirsty instead of hungry, so water can help you feel full better than a small snack.
7. Your skin will look better
Hydrating your skin by adding a moisturizer to its surface will only do so much. You can hydrate your skin more effectively from the inside by drinking plenty of water. If your skin seems dry, try drinking more water. That’s a much cheaper solution than buying progressively more expensive moisturizers.
8. Drinking water reduces your odds of developing kidney stones
Studies have shown that increasing the amount of water you drink can reduce your odds of developing kidney stones if you’ve suffered from them in the past.
Since increasing the amount of water you drink also means you’re increasing the amount of fluid passing through your kidneys, the minerals that cause stones to form don’t have as much of an opportunity to crystallize into painful clumps.
9. It prevents constipation
A certain amount of water is required to move everything smoothly along your digestive tract, so it’s only natural that failing to get enough water through your diet can lead to constipation. In fact, drinking plenty of water can help make up for lack of fiber in the diet when it comes to digestive regularity. Don’t put away the prunes just yet, but try drinking more water to see if you get symptom relief.
10. Water prevents hangovers
Since alcohol makes you lose more water than you take in, drinking plenty of water during and after consuming alcohol can reduce the terrible morning after effects of indulging in a good time. For best results, drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink and a large glass of water right before going to bed. No more cottonmouth!
11. Your joints will feel better
Your joints contain synovial fluid to keep them lubricated and moving smoothly. Without enough water, the bones in your joints will rub together more, causing a lot of pain and inflammation.
Maybe it’s time to stop reading and grab a nice large glass of ice-cold water. What do you say? Not many things can bring you quite as many benefits as drinking plenty of water.
Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor’s of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998.
He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.
Dr. Wells is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.