Precisely how many glasses of water you should be drinking on a daily basis remains a subject of contention among experts. The reason being that as every human body is fundamentally different, different people need different amounts of water in their daily diet.
That said, one thing all experts agree on across the board is the importance of remaining well hydrated at all times. Research has suggested that a surprising proportion of adults and children alike don’t drink nearly enough water on a daily basis.
Just to clarify one important point first of all – remaining hydrated doesn’t necessarily have to mean sticking purely with plain water. Just as long as the liquid you put into your body is healthy, it can be pretty much anything at all. So it’s not as if you need to drink say eight glasses of water every day on top of eight glasses of milk, cups of tea and so on.
In terms of the importance of staying well-hydrated, it’s worth remembering that the human body is comprised of approximately 60% water. On a 24/7 basis, we’re losing water at a quite frantic pace through any number of essential processes. The body needs a constant supply of water to perform its most important functions – it’s up to you to make sure it gets it.
You really only need to suffer a bout of rather advanced dehydration to understand the dangers of failing to consume sufficient water. But aside from the immediate ill-effects of dehydration, there are various other reasons why it’s important to remain properly hydrated at all times:
Seven of which you’ll find detailed below:
1. Flushing toxins from the body
First and foremost, the kidneys need plenty of water to perform their function correctly. The function of the kidneys being to flush toxins from the body and prevent you from becoming ill. When the kidneys are unable to do their job at optimum capacity, the resulting effects on our health and wellbeing can be catastrophic. And once again, it typically isn’t until you become somewhat dehydrated that you fully appreciate just how important water is for keeping the body healthy in general.
2. Better oral health and hygiene
In terms of everyday oral health and hygiene, it’s important to bear in mind that the single most important natural defence your mouth has is your saliva. When the body becomes dehydrated, its capacity to produce sufficient amounts of saliva diminishes. When this happens, your teeth and gums are left wide open to attack. Saliva naturally protects your teeth and gums from the kinds of nasties that could otherwise wreak havoc with your oral health and hygiene. Tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, receding gums – all the kinds of problems that can be exacerbated through dehydration. Use a state-of-the-art electric toothbrush and water flosser all you like – it’s all for nothing if you don’t provide your body with enough water every day.
3. Better weight loss and weight control
Any number of studies have drawn direct links between proper everyday hydration and the ability to more effectively manage one’s weight. It’s not simply a case of drinking more water and losing weight as a result, but rather giving the metabolism everything it needs to do its job properly. Not only this, but it’s also been proven time and time again that those who drink plenty of water are far less susceptible to the kinds of cravings and hunger pangs that lead to poor decision-making. It’s actually quite common to mistake thirst for hunger – try drinking a glass of water next time you get a random craving between meals.
4. Improve skin health and clarity
Like the rest of the body, the skin is comprised predominantly of water. If you intend to look after your skin and benefit from a radiant complexion therefore, you need to ensure you put enough water into your body on a daily basis. When the body becomes dehydrated, skin cells are robbed of the moisture they need and the skin begins to appear dry, dull, flaky and generally lifeless. It’s often said that true beauty comes from within – something that couldn’t be truer when it comes to the importance of hydration. Particularly if you suffer from dry and generally lifeless skin, you may be worth upping your everyday fluid intake.
5. More energy and vitality
Every kind of physical activity we take part in accelerates the speed at which the body loses essential liquids. As such, it’s important to ensure that fluids are replaced both during and after any and all types of physical activity. Along with looking after the body’s general health and wellbeing, maintaining adequate hydration levels can also have a direct impact on our energy and vitality. Even if the exercise isn’t particularly strenuous, you still need to provide your body with everything it needs to perform at its best.
6. Boost cognitive functioning
Along with the body, research also suggests that consistent hydration can also have a marked impact on our mental health. Specifically, boosting cognitive function and enabling us focus on whatever it is we’re doing more attentively. In fact, evidence would seem to suggest that rather than reaching for a sugary snack for that essential mental boost in the afternoon, a simple glass of water could do exactly the same job – all without the calories.
7. Better moods
Last but not least, it goes without saying that it’s borderline impossible to remain in a positive and optimistic mood, if you’re feeling generally grim from head to toe. Slowly but surely, even the most moderate cases of dehydration can have a catastrophic effect on our physical and mental health alike. As such, direct links have been drawn between hydration (or lack thereof) and the respective individual’s ability to manage their moods. So once again, if you find yourself feeling cranky in the afternoon and would usually reach for something sugary, reach for a glass of water first and see if it does the trick!