There’s a magical elixir out there – it’s called water.
With water, there is life. Covering two-thirds of the Earth, water is what constitutes us. It is the driving force of nature.
At the same time, drinking water is something that a lot of us forget to do living in the hustle and bustle of the everyday. At some point in our lives, I guarantee each and every one of us have been told to “drink more water” whether it be from our doctor, our parents, or even our own New Year’s resolution.
With how busy we all are, it's easy to just... well, forget. And sometimes we just don’t feel “thirsty” enough so we forget about it some more.
But even if we don’t feel thirsty, there are other weird symptoms of thirst that may be popping up throughout the day. Sometimes we just aren’t able to put two and two together.
Symptoms other than feeling plain-ol' thirst include:
not peeing enough
headache, dizziness, lightheadedness
dry mouth (and bad breath) from lack of saliva
fluish/sick feeling and body aches
lack of energy and weakness
Being dehydrated or not hydrated enough could easily be what’s making you feel crappy. A lot of people quickly run to supplements or painkillers, losing sight of things they can do that are sitting right there in front of them. The answer may be something as simple as drinking more water.
And whether or not you feel crappy, having proper hydration is critical for our mostly-water bodies. That’s right, humans are made up of mostly water. Around 75% of our weight, in fact. Not only is it necessary in maintaining a healthy weight and optimal physical health, but it also plays a critical role when it comes to mental health and all of the internal processes going on inside our bodies that we aren’t aware of.
Here are 7 amazing things that staying hydrated does for our bodies:
1. Ensures healthy organ function and the ability to detox
In order for our organs to function properly, they need to have hydrated tissues and linings. Our lungs alone consist of 83% water!
There are so many things happening behind the scenes that we don’t think about like lung function and liver and kidney function. When are excretory organs like the liver and kidneys are healthy, they are able to properly flush out toxins and body waste.
Our kidney system in particular is unique in its filtering capabilities and is totally dependent upon water in order for it to work. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood, eliminate toxic substances in the urine, receive water-soluble toxins from the liver for processing, and balance out the amount of salts and minerals. They filter voluminous amounts of blood each day, and in doing so, maintain the body’s water balance and excrete toxins/excess fluid through the bladder. There’s a reason why lots of water helps prevents things like hangovers and kidney stones.
In a nutshell, daily fluid intake is essential for our organs to function correctly and efficiently.
2. Maintains healthy production of blood and improves circulation
Staying hydrated plays a vital role in the amount of blood we produce and how well it is circulated throughout the body.
Blood transports oxygen and nutrients. So when blood is being transported around the body in vast quantities, our organs and cells are getting the “fuel’ they need to function and metabolize properly. In turn, the carbon dioxide produced is carried out of the body more quickly.
The blood helps keep certain values of the body in balance. For instance, healthy blood production and circulation is what makes sure that things like the right body temperature is maintained.
3. Keeps us regular
Think of water as an intestinal lubricator. It makes things move smoothly. It is needed to form saliva and mucosal membranes in the gut, which helps us break down and digest food properly. Also, water dilutes waste which helps eliminate toxins from the gastrointestinal tract.
That’s why it’s so great for constipation. Constipation often occurs when the stool in our colon gets dehydrated, due to a lack of water in the large intestine. When there is too little water available, the stool becomes dry, hard, and difficult to move through the colon.
One of the tell-tale signs of dehydration is not being regular, so if that’s happening, try drinking more water and see if that helps.
4. Can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression
Research shows that staying hydrated is strong enough to decrease depression and anxiety symptoms, and help us better handle stress.
Being dehydrated impacts the way our organs function, and it is no less for our brains. When our bodies are dehydrated, regular hormonal functioning like serotonin production decreases. Water is needed by the brain in order to produce hormones and neurotransmitters.
Lack of water also causes energy generation in the brain to decrease. Like our lungs, our brains are closed to being 85% water, so when we don’t have enough of it, our brains ability to function is compromised.
The body also experiences more mental and physical stress when dehydrated because water is a necessary part of our survival. So when we don’t have enough of it, it’s extremely taxing on our bodies and acts as a stressor.
This is why some studies show that water is a great “anxiety quencher.” When the body is lacking H2O, in can actually induce anxiety and nervousness. Our cells feel dehydration at the molecular level and communicate this to the subconscious as a threat to survival.
But it’s important to note that depression and anxiety are multifaceted conditions with lots of contributing factors. It would be an overstatement say that both are 100% affected by dehydration, though it can definitely make us feel worse-off.
5. Helps promote mental clarity
As mentioned, hydration is necessary for our organs to work correctly, including our brains. Just a drop of just 2% in body water can cause short-term memory problems and significant difficulties with concentration. Not to mention, not being hydrated enough can cause you to feel tired, which in turn affects your brainpower.
6. Reduces inflammation and pain
Hydration is crucial for flushing out toxins in the body, which could be causing inflammation in the first place. It also helps with creating more oxygenated blood cells and better circulation, which also further reduces inflammation and pain. So if you’re experiencing headaches, try upping your water every day and see if it helps.
Besides reducing swelling, adequate water intake can help keep your joints well lubricated and acts as a shock absorber for our joints, spinal cord, and brain.
Staying hydrated has shown to tremendously reduce arthritic-related joint pain.
7. Keeps the skin healthy
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, so it responds to dehydration just as ungracefully as the rest of our body.
When our skin is hydrated, it not only makes it more moisturized and less dry, but it minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is because water helps plump up our skin cells, and creates new ones.
Water also helps flush out toxins and impurities out of the body that would typically dull our complexion. And because water gives our bodies better circulation, your skin will get more blood flow… and glow!
Water is the key to smooth, supple, and glowy skin.
There are so many more things that a little H2O can’t fix like helping to fight off viruses, ease cramping, and repair torn muscles.
You don't need to be running a marathon or hiking through the desert to be motivated to stay hydrated — you just have to listen to your body. Regardless of how we “feel,” our body could be trying to get our attention with other signs and signals that it needs to be replenished with some agua. Tune into your body and see if maybe you need to move onto that second glass of water right about now.
The more you tune in to what’s really going on in your body, the more conscious you'll be of these ambiguous signs in the future.
If nothing else, it doesn’t hurt to set an alarm or put it into your calendar to drink water, or even leave a permanent post-it note on your desk. Do what you need to do to make sure your staying hydrated throughout the day.
In addition to drinking water…
While drinking water is incredibly important to our wellbeing and overall health, external uses of water like taking a warm bath and swimming in the ocean can have other profound and unique healing affects on us.
Taking a bath is incredibly detoxifying as it opens up our pores, much like if we were to sweat. Sitting in a steam room does the same as well.
As for swimming or floating in the ocean, it’s a great place to ground yourself since the salty water increases the conductivity of the earth’s electromagnetic field, which is tremendously healing for our nervous system and mind.
Need more H2O in your life? Here are my pro tips:
Drink around a total of 2 liters of water throughout the day.
Start every morning with 16-32 oz of water before eating anything. You can add lemon if you’d like, which helps stimulate the detoxification process even more.
Be mindful of how you’re drinking throughout the day. AKA, don’t ever chug it. It’s better to slowly sip on it throughout the day because your body assimilates it better that way.
Use a bottle that helps you keep track of how much you’re drinking. For example, if you have a 1 liter-sized bottle, know that you have to drink two of those. It helps to see it visually.
Ditch the soda and sweet drinks and stick to just water! Your body will thank you later.
Give yourself time every week to take a couple of warm baths or go for a swim in the ocean. You will feel soothed and rejuvenated!