Water, H2O, dihydrogen monoxide, aqua…this clear, colorless, liquid goes by many names, and everyone needs it to survive. It’s composed of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, arranged in a “V” shape, it’s polar, having a positively charged end and a negatively charged end, and this quality has earned it the title of “Universal Solvent,” because—unlike most liquids—it will dissolve almost anything. It is, in fact, the single most versatile solvent known to science, and without it, all life as we understand it would not be able to exist.
But did you know that increasing your water intake through various means can actually have a host of health benefits you might not have thought of? Let’s explore.
Water Can Help You Achieve And/Or Maintain a Healthy Weight
Water is not a magical weight loss/maintenance serum, but replacing high-calorie beverages with water or low/no calorie water-based beverages can cut off a lot of calories just like that, and eating more water-rich foods will lead to you chewing more, easier digestion, and feeling fuller for longer.
Water Keeps Many Bodily Functions Running Smoothly
There are a host of things your body depends on water for, and while it can survive on less, maintaining optimal water intake will ensure better health overall. Digestion, absorption, circulation, saliva creation, nutrient transport, and body temperature regulation all depend on water to work properly, and without enough water, you can get all kinds of issues with all of these processes, and more.
Water Helps Your Skin Glow
Your skin contains a fair amount of water itself, and one of its functions is to act as a barrier, not only to keep foreign things out, but to keep water in and prevent fluid loss. Maintaining a healthy level of hydration will not improve the appearance of wrinkles and other age signs—for those, your best bet is a solid skincare routine with the right creams, serums, etc—but it will keep your skin from looking dry, ashy, and flaky. Further, it will prevent dehydration, which can actually increase the rate at which wrinkles develop. In other words, staying hydrated isn’t an anti-aging cure, but it is a preventative of sorts.
But exactly how much more water should you be drinking? Well, the best rule of thumb, better than any static number, is to base it on your weight and lifestyle. For every pound you weigh, you should drink a half to a full ounce of water. So, for example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75-150 ounces of water every day. Whether you should drink closer to the maximum or minimum of the range depends on your activity level and how hot an environment you live in. The hotter the environment and the more physical activity you engage in, the more water you need, and the more sedentary you are and the colder your climate, the less you need (just don’t drink less than the ½ ounce per pound you weigh).
Try to keep water on hand at all times, and drink when you’re thirsty. Don’t force it, though, too much water is bad for you too, and if you force yourself to drink when you’re not thirsty, you can exceed the maximum of one ounce per pound you weigh and imbalance your electrolytes.