Why Hydration is Key
Sixty percent of an adult human body is water. If you're on a low-carb diet, the other 40 percent is kale and protein shake.
The brain and heart are 73 percent water. The lungs are 83 percent water. The skin? Sixty-four percent water. The muscles and kidneys: 79 percent water. Blood is 92 percent water. Even your bones are 31 percent water.
So you need to drink!
Drinking lots of water is one of the best and easiest things you can do to maintain good health and keep all of the above components functioning at maximum capacity.
We can't live without water. Water makes life-giving chemical reactions in the body possible. It moves hormones, antibodies and oxygen through the system to promote life. Since our body also uses water to remove wastes, water is constantly pouring out of us as we pee and sweat all day. That's why replenishing what we pour out of ourselves - drinking plenty of water each day - is crucial. Water regulates cell metabolism, the mechanism that uses energy to run your body, that helps you think, speak, work, play, exercise, study, argue, make love and bake my incredible homemade granola. Without water, you can't make your muscles do what you want them to do, one reason water is essential for post-workout recovery. Water also regulates body temperature, maintains proper blood flow and helps deliver nutrients to all our organs. It affects energy levels and brain function, keeps organs functioning properly, and can even help you lose weight. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
Now, how much water should you be drinking each day? The good news is that some of the water we all need can be ingested from food. Eat an orange. The lettuce in your salad is mostly water and so are many red and green vegetables. Soups count. So do other drinks but always watch the sugar intake with juices.
Coffee and tea are mostly water and although they do produce a net gain, they also are natural diuretics, so you will pee more when you drink them than if you drink plain water. Alcoholic drinks, though mainly water, also dehydrate you and while moderation is always recommended, regular alcohol use is associated with many ills, from acne to loss of muscle mass to impaired cognitive function to cirrhosis.
Experts recommend drinking about 11 cups of water per day for the average woman and 16 for men. You may think that sounds like a lot, but you are constantly losing water, as noted above. The movement of water through the body causes your face to go red during exercise. As the body responds to the demands of exercise, the heart pumps more blood (full of water!) at a faster rate to the oxygen-hungry muscles that are working so hard. Capillaries, tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin, push heat in those expanding blood vessels close to the skin's surface, where excessive heat can dissipate into the air and cool you down. If you're dehydrated, you have less water available to send to the skin to evaporate and cool you down. In fact, an inability to sweat in high heat can be a sign of life-threatening heatstroke.
Water plays a role in mood regulation, too. It's hard to feel buoyant and cheerful when your blood is too thick to move quickly and efficiently through your circulatory system and get those needed nutrients to your organs, or to swiftly remove cellular wastes accumulating in the body. Dehydration is known to cause headaches, which might explain why it’s common to get cranky when one strikes. Even mild dehydration can have a negative effect on your mood. Sometimes all you need is a glass of water to perk you up - it can do double duty by preventing that screaming headache and promoting a sense of refreshment that naturally enhances your mood!
So if you want great skin, high-functioning lungs, muscles ready to respond to your every command, and a chipper outlook, raise a cup to the glories of water. Cheers!