Saturday, October 8, 2011

Benefits of Drinking Water

Most of you might know that the human body is about 60% water but what are the benefits of drinking water? Water is an important constituent of all body tissues and is essential for survival. You could survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. This is in part because of water’s role in allowing chemical reactions, including those that provide you with energy, to take place within your cells. A lack of water will cause health symptoms faster than a lack of any other nutrient. Even minor changes in the amount and distribution of body water can be life-threatening. For example, days, and even weeks, without taking in some vitamins and minerals will not cause deficiency symptoms, but an hour of exercise in hot, humid weather can lead to nausea, dizziness, weakness, and other symptoms that are due to lack of water. If the water that’s lost during exercise is not replaced, it can be a life-threatening situation.

Adequate water consumption each day is one of the benefits of drinking water that can help decrease risk of bladder, breast, and colon cancer as well as of kidney stone formation. People feel and perform better when they are adequately hydrated.

Water is also essential for maintaining the fluid balance inside your body. Think about it: Your body cells are plump with fluid, and they float in the fluid that surrounds them. As part of your body fluid, water is essential for maintaining fluid balance. Fluid balance refers to the equal distribution of fluid among several compartments in your body. Maintaining the equal distribution of all this body fluid is crucial to health and water and dissolved minerals play key roles.

Water is a wonderful solvent, a liquid in which substances dissolve. As a solvent, water is part of the medium in which molecules come in contact with each other. This contact between molecules allows chemical reactions to take place. For example, the combining of specific amino acids to synthesize a protein occurs in the watery medium inside your cells.

The water in blood and lymph helps transport substances throughout your body. Only about 45% of your blood is red blood cells and most of the rest is water. As part of blood, water helps transport oxygen, nutrients, and other important substances to your cells. It also helps transport waste products away from cells to be excreted in urine and stool. Like the fluid in blood, lymph fluid is almost entirely water. Lymph transports proteins back to the bloodstream, and it is important in the absorption of fats.

Other benefits of drinking water are water in blood helps maintain body temperature by increasing or decreasing the amount of heat lost at the body surface. When body temperature starts to rise, the blood vessels in the skin become wide, which increases blood flow to the skin and allows more heat to be released into the environment. This is why your skin turns red in hot weather or during strenuous activity. In a cold environment, the opposite occurs. The blood vessels in the skin constrict which restricts the flow of blood near the surface and conserves body heat.