Health & Wellness: A comprehensive guide to the benefits of drinking water
For most Americans, the instruction to drink eight glasses of water a day has become a familiar — even clichéd — piece of advice. Even so, studies show that most of us still aren’t drinking as much water as we should. Besides keeping us alive, drinking water is important for many aspects of our well-being. Believe it or not, drinking the right amount of water can help you feel less pain, improve your mood and mental wellness and even make you more attractive.
Despite Utahns’ love affair with soda, water remains the optimal beverage for obtaining a wide variety of valuable health benefits. As you learn about the many physical, mental and cosmetic benefits of drinking water, chances are you’ll be running to the kitchen to pour yourself a glass in no time.
Perhaps the most obvious benefits of drinking water are physical. When we feel unwell, one of the first questions we ask ourselves is whether we’ve been drinking enough water. While drinking water can definitely help us feel better physically in general, it can also improve very specific aspects of our health that we may not have considered before.
Here are some of the physical benefits of drinking water:
- Prevents illness. While you were probably aware that drinking fluids is important to help you get over a sickness, drinking enough water can also prevent you from getting sick in the first place. Boosting your immune system, improving cellular respiration and keeping your mucous membranes moist are all wonderful defenses against sickness that your body can maintain as it stays hydrated.
- Helps you sleep better. Drinking enough water can also improve your sleep. When you are hydrated, your body has an easier time regulating its temperature and even preventing you from snoring.
- Lessens pain. Did you know that increasing your hydration can reduce the pain you experience from headaches, cramps, sprains and backaches? As you keep enough fluids in your tissues, your joints will be protected and hurt less.
- Improves organ function. As your hydration level increases, you can reduce your chances of experiencing heart and kidney failure. With proper water intake, you can help your organs last longer than they otherwise would!
- Reduces constipation. Proper hydration is key to avoiding constipation. When you drink enough water, less water is withdrawn from your colon, keeping your stool soft.
- Improves sexual function. Because drinking water is so critical to preventing tissue dehydration, poor circulation and low energy, it is an important element in having better sex. Low libido? Get hydrated!
In addition to providing various physical health benefits, drinking enough water can also improve your mental state in several ways. Although medication may be the first choice for many people in improving their mental condition, supplementing this treatment with increased water intake can be an effective addition.
Here are some of the mental benefits of drinking water:
- Lowers your risk of anxiety and depression. Individuals who drink less water are at a higher risk for anxiety and depression. If you’re looking to improve your mental health, consider drinking an extra glass or two of water a day!
- Improves mood. According to one survey, participants who claimed to drink enough water reported increased optimism, energy and success compared to those who did not. As you keep yourself hydrated, you’ll also keep yourself happy.
- Makes you smarter. Drinking water increases cognitive function, improves memory and makes you more alert. If you have an exam or important meeting coming up, don’t forget to bring your water bottle.
- Slows the effects of dementia. When your brain cells have less water, toxic proteins can’t be removed as easily. Dehydration is a common issue in the elderly, so older individuals should take special care to keep themselves mentally and physically well by drinking extra water.
As if keeping you physically and mentally well wasn’t enough, drinking plenty of water can actually provide you with a wide variety of cosmetic benefits, too. From skin care to oral care, water should be an important part of your self-care routine.
Here are some of the cosmetic benefits of drinking water:
- Makes you more attractive. Drinking water can have a huge impact on your skin. Increasing your water intake can help clear up acne, reduce wrinkles and eye puffiness and minimize the appearance of pores.
- Promotes physical fitness. Because drinking water helps to suppress appetite, increase metabolism function, remove waste and fat and reduce stress, it is an important tool in helping you lose any weight you may want to drop.
- Prevents bad breath. Since bad breath can be caused by residual food particles in the mouth, drinking water can help by flushing the particles out. As you keep your mouth moist with water, you can maintain clean-smelling breath.
- Helps with postnatal recovery. In addition to contributing to uterus function, water improves your skin’s elasticity, which can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and promote healing from tearing that may have occurred in pregnancy.
- Heals sunburns faster. Since sunburns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from other parts of the body, drinking extra water when you’re sunburned can help your body get the hydration it needs to help you recover quickly.
With so many benefits to drinking water, there’s no reason not to seek to add an extra glass or two into your daily routine. As you begin to enjoy the physical, mental and cosmetic benefits of drinking water, you will be on your way to creating a healthy habit that can benefit you for a lifetime!
Lillian Sanders is a project manager at Stage Marketing, a full-service content marketing agency based in Provo.