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Why is Water so Important for Our Bodies?


by Dr. Nancy Rahnama

Director of Health & Nurition

The human body is made of about 60% water. Our brains are 73% water, our bones are 31%, blood is 92%, and muscles are 79% water. So it’s no surprise to hear the importance of replenishing that water level within the body.

The general consensus is that we should all be drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water every day. And although there’s little science to back up the specific 8x8 rule, there are plenty of reasons to stay hydrated throughout the day. Here are 11 reasons why water is so important.

Reasons Why Water is So Important for the Body

1. Water helps regulates our body temperature: When we get too hot our body uses water (in the form of sweat) to cool us off. It does this because the perspiration on our skin helps assist in the “release” of heat. If we don't replenish the water lost, our body temperature can rise, resulting in dizziness, headaches, and heat stroke at its most extreme.


2. Sufficient fluid intake can help prevent headaches and even migraines: One study found that 40% of participants experienced headaches when they were dehydrated and several studies have proven that adequate hydration can reduce the risk of migraines.

Water can also help reduce the severity of a hangover. Since alcohol is a diuretic and causes increased urine production, we often lose more liquid than we take in when we drink. This results in dehydration, which is part of the reason we may experience headaches after a big night out on the town. While I recommend you manage your alcohol intake carefully, drinking plenty of water while you drink alcohol and again before you go to bed will help you avoid such a severe headache in the morning.


3. It maintains healthy blood pressure: dehydration causes the blood to thicken as the blood’s water content is reduced. Dehydration can also cause the hormone vasopressin to be released in the brain. This results in a narrowing of the blood vessels, retention of sodium in the body, and eventually, high blood pressure. It’s especially important to drink plenty of water if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure or before any blood tests.

4. Water (indirectly) removes toxins and waste: although water doesn’t neutralize toxins per se, our kidneys need water to flush out some bodily waste. If we don’t drink enough water, our kidneys aren’t getting the fluid they need to function properly.

5. It protects joints and organs: Think of water as the oil in your joints, Water cushions our joints, spinal cord, and tissues that protect our organs from injury. With 70 – 80% of the joint cartilage being made of water, it’s vital to stay hydrated so the synovial fluid can keep our bones from coming into contact and causing pain.

6. A hydrated person is less likely to have impaired cognitive function: in other words, those who drink enough water have more functional brains than those who do not. This is especially important for those who work or workout when it’s hot out, and the elderly.

7. Water helps the body to convert food to energy, boosting the metabolism which is aided by energy conversion. It also helps the body to absorb nutrients. Water helps carry the nutrients from food into other parts of the body for use and plays a vital part in our day-to-day energy levels. That boost to the metabolism may even help you burn more calories!

8. It can help boost your mood. Being hydrated prevents fatigue which can often lead to irritability, and feelings of anxiety.

9. Drinking enough water can even treat kidney stones: These clumps of mineral crystals develop in the urinary system and the only way the body can rid itself of them is to pass them. Higher water intake increases the amount of urine that passes through the kidneys each day and breaks up the minerals. This means that they aren’t as likely to crystallize and form clusters that will be painful to pass.

10. It supports digestion and prevents constipation. Low water consumption increases older adults' risk of constipation, and sodium- and magnesium-rich mineral water can improve bowel movement frequency. This can save a lot of discomfort in people over 60 and under 15 years old so is worth encouraging if you’re a caregiver for someone in either of these age groups.

 

Even mild dehydration can cause physical discomfort and mental fatigue. If you find it hard to drink 64 ounces of water each day, you can break it up with variations. Herbal tea and sparkling water all count towards your 64 ounces every day. It’s also worth noting that you can get some hydration from certain water-heavy foods like cucumber, watermelon, strawberries, and peaches.

However you choose to reach your fluid goals each day, it’s good to make sure you know how much you’re drinking. Consider using a water bottle that has time stamps printed on the side to help you keep up your drinking throughout the day. Adequate hydration is extremely attainable for us all, and it’s a simple and easy way to get you on your way to good overall physical health.

 


Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease. In addition to her private practice in Beverly Hills, she is also the co-founder and Director of Nutrition for Dr Nancy MD.

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