Water accounts for 60 percent of your body, and optimal hydration is essential for maintaining good health. It is also critical to boosting the immune system to fight off infection and aids in many vital biological functions, including nutrient distribution, regulation of body temperature, and maintaining an electrolyte balance within the body. Researches have also found that staying hydrated impacts the brain, keeps memory sharp, mood stable, and motivation intact.
This is why many physicians put a strong emphasis on maintaining proper hydration to preserve one's health, often citing the "daily recommended intake" of eight cups as the amount of water required to drink regularly. However, the amount of water one needs to take in varies with age, gender, physical activities, medical conditions, and even the climate they live in.
Here are a few ways water can benefit your body's health:
Water helps prevent dry mouth by keeping your throat and lips moist, thus preventing bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste that even promotes cavities.
Dehydration can lower your blood volume, making the heart work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and enough oxygen to your cells, making everyday activities more difficult.
The body releases heat by expanding blood vessels near the skin's surface, resulting in more blood supply and more heat dissipated into the air. However, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to expand when you're dehydrated, so you stay hotter.
When you are well hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients and efficiently removes waste so that you perform better. For lubricating joints, water is important as well. Contrary to popular belief, according to Sam Cheuvront, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist, muscle cramps do not tend to be linked to dehydration but instead to muscle exhaustion.
The skin is less elastic when a person is extremely dehydrated. This is different from dry skin, typically caused by soap, hot water, and exposure to dry air.
To remove waste from the blood and excrete it in urine, kidneys require water. Keeping hydrated can also help to avoid infections of the urinary tract and kidney stones. Your kidneys can stop functioning if you are severely dehydrated, causing toxins to build up in your body.
If proper hydration is not attained, one's health would be significantly affected. Signs of dehydration include thirst, infrequent urination, weakness, dry skin or a dry mouth, dizziness, confusion, and an increased heart rate. Sunken eyes, a lack of tears when crying, irritability, skin that does not flatten after being pinched and released can be the signs of dehydration in infants. In warmer temperatures, where water is more quickly lost from the body and overheated, dehydration is extremely harmful.