Adequate fluid intake may be defined as fluid intake from various sources, such as, water, food sources, beverages, etc., that balances the fluid loss with fluid consumption and makes equilibrium. At the same time, dehydration is when more fluid leaves the body than enters it. Though water contains no organic nutrient or energy source, its importance cannot be denied in carrying out essential body functions. Its significance is so much that a human can stay alive for weeks without food but without water, not more than a few days. Despite the claims of enough water consumption by most people, a lay press reports that 75% of
Americans needs to intake more water which means they are living with a chronic dehydration.
How much water is adequate?
According to a study by Paul A. Oakley and Melissa L. Baird, it is estimated that water intake should be based on body weight and calculated as ‘half of the body weight in ounces.’ The old proverb of 8 glasses of water daily does not fit everyone of varying weights. Also, less urine output and decreased body weight are more reliable indicators than the instinct to be thirsty.
Why is water important?
Chronic dehydration or unintentional less frequent fluid intake is a serious negligence. Dr. Batmanhelidj, an Iranian doctor and the author of ‘Your Body’s Many Cries for Water’, considers asthma, allergies, infectious diseases, and chronic pains as an indicator of body thirst, not that their etiologies are unknown. Dr. Batmanhelidj refers to them as dehydration diseases. A myriad of conditions and bodily functions are associated with water, for instance water maintains body temperature, maintain optimal kidney function and prevent against
infections. Water maintains your body’s normal operations in many ways; merely a 1% loss in hydration impairs thermo regulatory response, and only 2-3% loss causes cognitive impairment and physical performance.
12 health benefits of drinking enough water
Water has abundant benefits, some noticeable and most prominent among all are given as follows:
- Helps the digestive system to function effectively
The gastrointestinal tract requires water to break down food and digest it. Enough water availability prevents heartburn, constipation, gas, and bloating. In the unavailability of water, the colon uses moisture from the digested food to provide the body with enough hydration, resulting in negative fluid equilibrium in the gastrointestinal tract and causing constipation.
- Supports the joints
The spine and other joint’s cartilage is 80% water. The shock-absorbing capacity of joints comes from the presence of water in them. Therefore, long-term dehydration reduces the water that acts as a lubricating agent in the joint and leads to joint pain.
- Plays a role in carrying oxygen to different body parts
Blood is 90% water and a major reservoir of oxygen. Blood carries oxygenated blood to each body cell and carries deoxygenated blood away from the cells.
- Helps maintain homeostasis
The body contains two main receptors for water balance; the osmoreceptor regulates water commonality and is controlled by the hypothalamus, while the baroreceptor is a mechanoreceptor and regulates water in the peripheral circulation. Body water balance is under homeostatic control; it regulates excretory pathways and thirst sensation to maintain a balance between water input and output throughout the body.
- Helps prevent and treat kidney stones
Kidney stores are an accumulation of mineral crystals in the urinary system. As recommended by urologists, more water consumption helps prevent kidney stone build-up and treat them. More water dilutes urine and reduces the risk of mineral clump formation.
- Prevents hangover effect
The hangover is a side-effect of drinking alcohol. As alcohol is a diuretic, it has the potential to cause dehydration. Hangover symptoms are fatigue, headache, thirst, and dry mouth. Drinking enough water between drinks and before going to bed helps prevent a hangover.
- Helps in weight loss
Studies prove the significance of water in weight loss. Because water improves satiety and metabolic rate, dieters who drink 0.5 liters half an hour before food intake reduced 44% of body weight in 12 weeks compared to dieters who do not take water.
- Help prevent headaches
Some individuals are prone to headaches and migraines due to dehydration. A study conducted demonstrates drinking 1.5 liters more water improves migraine-specific rating scale scores for migraine symptoms.
- Improves brain function
A fluid loss of 1-3% causes alteration in mood and concentration, as the study linked here
demonstrated. Cognitive deficits, learning difficulties, and reduced alertness are the main symptoms of brain function deterioration due to dehydration.
- Improves physical activity
Athletes, more specifically, are involved in fierce exercise, and losing 6-10% of body weight is very common. Enough water consumption reduces the risk of oxidative stress. Staying hydrated is important for athletes both physically and mentally.
- Regulates body temperature
The ability of the body to endure environmental heat strains comes from the presence of water inside the skin. Researchers believe that the body heats up in the absence of enough water.
- Helps promote healthy skin
Water keeps the skin hydrated, and enough water in capillaries improves blood flow to maintain healthy, younger-looking skin.
What are the best ways to rehydrate?
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention gives some tips and tricks to hydrate the body. Here are some of the best ways to rehydrate:
- Always choose plain water consumption; its benefits outweigh other drinks. It is believed to be the cheapest and the best way to rehydrate
- Eat water-rich foods
- Drink sugar-free beverages
- Keep a water bottle and refill it as needed
- Apart from water, drink either low or no-calorie beverages or drinks containing calories and other nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and potassium
The importance of adequate hydration is undebatable. Malignancies associated with less water consumption as a serious consequence include an increased risk of developing bladder cancer in both men and women, pre-malignant adenomatous polyps, and colorectal cancer. You should be drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Plain water, drinks with other vitamin and mineral benefits and foods with a high water content are what consumers should focus on to maintain healthy hydration. Overall, staying hydrated at all times significantly improves the body’s functions and helps prevent sickness.
Oakley, P. A., & Baird, M. L. (2015). Do patients drink enough water? Actual pure water intake compared to the theoretical daily rules of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses and drinking half your body weight in ounces. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 7(11), 883. https://www.scirp.org/html/5-9402614_58372.htm
Australia, H. (2022). Drinking water and your health. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/drinking-water-and-your-health
Holway, L. How Drinking Enough Water Improves Your Health. https://www.emedihealth.com/nutrition/drinking-water-benefits
Victor Alex is privileged to convert his interests into his profession. He works as an editor, proofreader weekly, and freelance writer on weekends. Through insightful articles and evidence-based content, Victor aims to empower readers with the knowledge and tools to make informed choices about their health. Whether nutrition, fitness, mental wellness, or lifestyle tips, Victor is committed to providing valuable insights to inspire positive change.
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