The human body is mostly made up of water, about 60% of it. Therefore, it is essential to our survival that this fluid be replenished to maintain adequate levels of hydration. How much water should a person drink? That answer is variable, and depends on a person's size, activity level, climate and nutritional intake. A good rule of thumb is the “8-8oz glasses a day” rule. This adds up to 1.9 liters per day and is easy to remember. The Institute of Medicine recommends 3 liters of water for men and 2.2 liters of water for women, per day. This is a bit more than the 8 by 8 rule, however you will also be able to obtain about 20% of your water intake from food if you are eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
The importance of water and hydration is highlighted when we take a look at some of the benefits of drinking it.
- Joint movement: The cells in your body absorb the fluid which plumps up cellular membranes. This will moisturize, lubricate and cushion the membranes of our joints, muscles and cartilage.
- Healthier looking skin: Drinking water will help keep your skin moisturized, especially during these dry winter months. Stay hydrated to prevent chapped lips, flaky skin, and dry eyes. You'll look better and feel better!
- Transportation of nutrients: eating foods high in water content can not only provide you with essential water, but also essential nutrients and electrolytes. Try fruits like canataloupe, peaches and strawberries which are rich in potassium. Enjoy citrus fruits that are high in the antioxidant, Vitamin C, to help maintain cartilage and joint flexibility and boost your immune system. And don't forget broccoli, which is about 90% water and contains antioxidants that can reduce your risk of cancer.
- Weight loss: Research shows that drinking a glass of water before meals can curb your appetite, helping you eat less. Did you know that one of the first signs of dehydration is hunger? Next time you get a craving, try drinking an 8 oz glass of water. Increasing your water consumption can boost your metabolism, so drink up to burn more calories. Water will also contribute to weight loss by flushing toxins and waste products out of the body.
The health benefits of drinking more water are numerous. Adding in a few extra glasses of water a day, could get you on track to “Feel Better and Live Longer!”.
Jody Anderson, RN, CHC
Succeed Health, LLC- Algoma