It's no secret that water is absolutely critical to our bodies.

But while we all know water is important, most of us don’t really think about why it’s important or what we’d do without it. You’ve probably heard the average person can go up to two weeks without food, but did you know we can’t survive much more than five days without water? Science has also proven that getting enough water can reduce the incidence of disease and prevent the loss of brain function.

The Many Functions of Water

Hydration is about much more than preventing thirst. Possibly the most important thing water does in the body is carry oxygen and important nutrients to our cells. This is vital to helping nearly every major system in our body function properly. From there, the list of tasks water does for our bodies just keeps going. Here are a few other functions of water and why our bodies need it so badly.

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Dissolves nutrients and minerals needed for optimal health
  • Protects organs and tissues
  • Lubricates joints
  • Supports kidneys and liver by flushing out waste

Water and Your Health

Water has also been proven to support good health and help prevent a number of physical ailments. Here are just a few of the benefits associated with drinking enough water each and every day.

  • Enhances physical performance - Proper hydration helps to maintain body temperature and provide the energy needed to get through a workout or other strenuous activity.
  • Supports brain function - A study published in Frontiers in Human Neurosciences looked at the effects of water on participants asked to perform a number of mental tests. Those who drank water just before the tests had a 14% improvement in reaction time when compared with those who did not.
  • Helps avoid headaches - Not all headaches are caused by dehydration, but it is a common trigger. If you feel a headache coming on, it's almost always a good idea to drink a glass of water.
  • Supports weight loss - Drinking water can help with feeling full and can also boost your metabolism, two things that can help when trying to lose weight. Feeling hungry? Drink a tall glass of water and wait 30 minutes before reevaluating if you need a snack. Feeling sluggish? A glass of water is a great way to get things moving!
  • Helps to prevent diabetes - A study published in 2011 in Diabetes Care indicated that drinking water can help prevent the development of hyperglycemia.
  • Keeps things regular - Drinking enough water is critical to good digestion and can help prevent constipation. For those struggling with regularity, a doctor’s first piece of advice is often to increase water intake. That’s because water helps food work its way through your digestive tract and also keeps your intestines smooth, making stool easier to pass.

How Much Water Do We Need?

Research and opinions vary on this, but I recommend drinking half your weight in ounces each day. That means a 200-pound person would aim to drink 100 ounces of water each day.

Your water intake is especially important if you are also drinking caffeinated beverages and/or working out. I recommend increasing your intake by 8 ounces for each caffeinated beverage you drink, and on days when you work out, drink at least an extra 8 ounces of water.

Tips and Tricks to Drink More Water

Maybe you have a hard time remembering to drink your water, or maybe you just don’t really care for plain water. Either way, here are some tips and tricks to keep you on track with getting your recommended daily amount.

  • Find a favorite cup - It may seem silly, but finding a cup you love can really help you enjoy drinking water. Consider whether you prefer a straw, lid, or handle (or all three!) and make sure you find the cup that checks all your boxes. Or maybe you're simple like me and just want to drink from a mason jar. Whatever your preference, keep that kind of cup handy so you're never without a source of water.
  • Set a reminder or use an app - We all have so many tools that can be for health right at our fingertips thanks to our mobile devices. Set reminders to drink water throughout the day and/or use an app to log your water intake so you're never left guessing if you had enough.
  • Take it with you - Running errands or on the road? Pack your fun cup or a small thermos of ice water when you leave in the morning so you have something to drink and easily refill throughout the day.
  • Wake with water - First thing in the morning, drink at least 8 ounces of water. It's even more effective than caffeine to help you wake up.
  • Make it interesting - If you don’t love plain water or you just want something a little more exciting, mix it up by adding fresh fruit, cucumber slices, or fresh herbs to your glass. You can also enjoy a flavored seltzer water occasionally (just pay attention to the ingredients).

Now that you know just how amazing and important water is, it's time to hydrate! Your body and mind will thank you.

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