Water health benefits

Most of us know we should be drinking more water. This easy to acquire, inexpensive and calorie free beverage provides many health benefits for the body.

Most of us know the importance of staying hydrated – especially during the summer months. Water, which is easy to acquire, relatively inexpensive and free of calories, does so much more to keep our body healthy. Michigan State University Extension recommends the website Benefits of Drinking Water, which provides the following information:

Drinking water:

  • Helps with losing weight – water has zero calories and research indicates that drinking water 20 minutes before meals makes us feel fuller and can reduce the amount of calories we normally consume.
  • Improves skin – water absorbed by cells improves the elasticity and moisture of our skin.
  • Improves the brain – the brain is made up of approximately 80 percent water, so it’s essential to keep it hydrated. Lack of water can notably affect our focus and memory ability.
  • Fuels muscles – our bodies are made up of approximately 70 percent water, but our muscles tissues contain up to 75 percent. Muscles require a lot of water, especially when we’re trying to gain muscle.
  • Assists with digestion – in order for our body to absorb all of its essential nutrients, we need a strong digestive system. Water helps move food through our body and can aid in the prevention of constipation and irregularity.
  • Fights sickness – water can aid in lessening congestion and helps keep our bodies in better condition, which is the first step in the prevention of many seasonal colds and flus.
  •  Improves mood – dehydration can make us irritable and less comfortable, which can create serious problems with our mood.
  •  Reduces cancer risk – water keeps cells healthy and may be responsible for combating certain cancers such as bowel and breast cancer.
  • Keeps kidneys healthy – our kidneys are responsible for filtering what we put in our body. Kidneys require a lot of fresh water to do their job.

How much water should we drink? The United States Department of Agriculture’s Choose MyPlate recommends that we let our thirst be our guide! Water is an important nutrient, but everyone’s needs are different based on various factors such as diet, activity level and age. Most of us get enough water from the foods and beverages we consume during the day. However, MSU Extension says that if you are physically active, live, work or play in a hot environment, or are an older adult, you may want to increase your water intake to prevent dehydration.

For more information about the health benefits associated with water, visit the following websites:

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/water.html

http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/pdfs/fitfacts/itemid_173.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html

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