Water: Why Is It So Important To Your Diet?

Learn about why water is so important to the human body, including what happens when the body is dehydrated and how much water you should be drinking.

Water is an important part of the human body. We can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Water helps us digest and absorb food, regulates body temperature, removes toxins and waste, circulates blood, protects tissues, organs, and joints, and carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells. Dehydration, or the lack of water, worsens many common ailments, including headaches, fatigue, allergies, and joint/muscle pain. A body that is well hydrated rarely suffers from these conditions. People who are chronically dehydrated often suffer from numerous diseases, due to the fact that without water, toxins cannot readily be eliminated from our body.

Water is also an important part of weight loss. Since water has no calories but can give the feeling of being full, it works well as an appetite suppressant. It also helps the body to metabolize stored fat. Drinking more water, not less, will help with bloating by stimulating your kidneys. When not enough water is consumed, a body often has poor muscle tone as well as muscle soreness which works against weight loss.

How much water should I drink?

Generally speaking, if you are not in the habit of drinking enough water, you should start out by drinking an ounce of water for every pound of body weight you carry. A 150 pound woman needs 150 ounces or 15 ten ounce glasses of water a day. Sounds like a lot? The purpose is to re-hydrate your body. After that has occurred, you can safely cut down to a half ounce of water per body weight. If you are very active or live in a hot climate, you should drink more. Just remember to not drink more than four glasses of water in any given hour.

Why should I drink more water? I spend all day running to the bathroom.

Think of a houseplant that is dried out. When you first water it, the water either sits on top, or runs right through and drains out the bottom. You have to water the plant a few times a day over the course of a week to make the water stay within the soil. That is similar to how the human body works. If you are seriously dehydrated and drink a bottle of water, it will most likely run right through you. It will take a few days of re-hydration to make the water stay within you. After your water intake becomes more regular and you are consuming the appropriate amount of your body size, you will urinate less frequently, but in larger amounts.

Do I have to drink WATER? Can't I get my water from everything else I drink?

While drinking any liquid is better than nothing, water is the best liquid to choose. Other drinks contain water, but may contain other things as well that may work against what the water is attempting to do. For instance, coffee and tea contain water, but they are also diuretics, which causes the water to leave your body more quickly. Beer contains water, but it works against the water trying to eliminate toxins from your body. Water is the simplest and purest thing you can drink and is the best choice for your body.

I'm not thirsty. Do I still have to drink water?

Many people do not think they are dehydrated because they aren't thirsty. This is not true. If you consistently find yourself not thirsty, this generally means you have been dehydrated for so long that your body has simply turned off its thirst reflex. It is not normal to not crave liquid. When you start drinking water on a regular basis, you will find that you are more attuned to your body's needs.

Our bodies lose approximately 6 pints of water a day through the basic functions of perspiration and exhalation. If this water is lost and not replaced, the body begins a process of deterioration. Help to keep your body in tip-top shape by drinking the appropriate amounts of water for your weight, and watch to see how much better you feel when you stay in tune with your body's needs!

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