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The elixir of life: 6 scientifically-proven benefits of drinking enough water

Staying hydrated is essential for your health and wellbeing. You get fluids from all beverages and food, but sometimes, this water coming from your daily diet could be insufficient for the proper functioning of your body.

Dehydration could be very dangerous, as it affects all life-sustaining functions of your body, including the thermoregulatory, cardiovascular, metabolic, and central nervous systems.

By drinking more water every day, you can avoid dehydration with all its accompanying issues and improve your quality of life. Let’s look at 6 science-based ways how staying hydrated boosts your health and wellbeing.

1) Improves brain function

Drinking enough water supports the proper functioning of your brain and helps keep your mood stable.

For different people, even mild dehydration can cause different problems with cognitive performance and mental state. Some common effects include problems with short-term memory, alertness, concentration, and psychomotor skills.

For example, one research found that women can experience an increased perception of task difficulty, problems with mood, lower concentration, and headache symptoms because of mild dehydration. Another study found that for the same reason, men can experience fatigue, anxiety, and problems with working memory.

Photo by Nigel Msipa on Unsplash

2) Boosts physical performance

Proper hydration doesn’t only support your cognitive function; it helps with your physical performance too.

When you’re dehydrated, your endurance and motivation decrease, while the amount of effort you need to make during physical activity increases. For example, this study shows that the physical performance during endurance exercise starts to suffer when dehydration exceeds 2% of body weight.

By drinking enough water, you will feel more energy and motivation during physical activity and will be able to perform at your peak level.

3) Increases metabolism

Giving you energy boosts so that you work out at your peak performance is not the only way how water helps you get your dream body. Drinking enough water can also increase your metabolism and help you lose weight.

Research demonstrates that drinking 500 ml of lukewarm water can increase the metabolic rate by 30% in healthy adults. The body starts reacting just 10 minutes after you’ve drunk those 500 ml and reaches the maximum effect in 30-40 minutes.

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

4) Supports heart health

Aside from enjoying the immediate positive effects of drinking water, you can support your future health by staying hydrated every day.

Consistently drinking enough water helps keep your heart healthy and can reduce the risk of heart failure in the future, according to this new research.

Turns out, dehydration can increase your serum sodium concentration and lead to the thickening of your heart's main pumping chamber walls. And if you constantly take less fluid than your body needs in your midlife, those issues can end up causing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure 25 years later.

5) Supports skin hydration

While it’s still not confirmed by research whether you can significantly improve the appearance of your skin by drinking more water, you can definitely achieve some positive results by supporting the proper hydration level of your skin.

For example, this study demonstrated that by drinking around 2 liters of water every day, you can positively affect skin physiology and significantly improve both superficial and deep skin hydration. You will notice an even bigger difference if you were dehydrated before making this new healthy habit.

Photo by Maria Di Lorenzo on Unsplash

6) Supports kidney function

Your kidneys work hard to help your body get rid of waste and toxins, and you can support their proper function by drinking more water.

Research shows that higher fluid intake can protect against chronic kidney disease. The study suggests that by increasing the amount of fluid we intake, we can prevent this disease that can potentially lead to life-threatening kidney failure.  

Besides, if you drink enough water, you can reduce the risk of getting kidney stones in the first place, and prevent recurrent kidney stones too.

Water is the true elixir of life that helps all systems of your body work properly. But while drinking too little water can cause a whole bunch of health issues, drinking too much water may also sabotage the proper functioning of your body in some cases.

The common recommendation of 8 glasses per day isn’t just automatically good for everyone, and your optimal water consumption depends on your gender, age, health state, and lifestyle. Consult with your healthcare provider before changing the amount of water you drink every day to avoid any health complications.

Cover photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Julia Stecher is an award-winning fitness model, professional nutritionist, and certified personal trainer who provides personal training services in Zurich and online.

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