Health Benefits of Water
As hot summer turns into cooler fall and families settle back into a school routine, some of the habits we grew accustomed to may change. It’s easy to remember to drink water during the hot summer months. We are consistently thirsty, and sweating helps us to remember. As temperatures get cooler and our bodies begin to prepare for the first frost of the fall, the reminders aren’t quite as noticeable, yet hydration should still be a high priority due to its many health benefits.
Water: The Perfect Drink
With no calories, water is the perfect drink to assist with weight loss along with a healthy diet and physical activity. It can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate. Hydration plays a major role in energy levels and brain function. Mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can affect mood, memory and brain performance. Water plays a role in many of the body’s processes – digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. It assists with electrolyte balance, which keeps our muscles working properly. Importantly, it helps maintain proper kidney function, as the kidneys are responsible for helping to rid the body of toxins. Water also decreases risk of constipation.
Water does not have to be consumed through liquid alone. Water-rich foods do contribute to the overall general recommendations for daily water consumption. Daily water intake for women should be approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) from all beverages and food. For men, it should be approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of water from all beverages and food. Usually around 80 percent of our water consumption will come from drinking water or beverages, but that leaves 20 percent of our needs to come from food. Fruits and vegetables are water-rich foods that also provide the body with important vitamins and minerals needed for daily functioning.
Tricks to Increase Water Intake
Staying hydrated should be a year round priority. Without some of the summer “triggers,” we sometimes forget that our bodies are constantly using and losing water throughout the day. It’s important to remain hydrated through the consumption of water and water-rich foods in order to keep the whole body functioning properly. Some tricks to increase your water intake may include carrying a reusable water bottle to work or school, eat more fruits and vegetables, or make a point to consume a beverage with all meals and snacks. But most of all, find non-sugary drinks that you enjoy because hydrating should be enjoyable. Happy hydrating!
A guest blog post by Dr. Erin Holt, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Baker University.