H2O: More Than a Molecule
Everyone knows that proper hydration is essential, but few know exactly why it is so essential. In truth, there are dozens if not hundreds of reasons to drink enough water. It supports health, metabolism, and so much more. And hydration is not just drinking water. Many foods contain water that can supplement hydration.
The human body is made up of 60% water, and it runs through every part of the body in the form of blood, saliva, and even spinal fluid. Depending on where one looks, different amounts of water are recommended. Commonly, 64 ounces or eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily is the recommended amount. Fitness experts claim one should drink their body weight in ounces every day. Harvard Medical says that 30-50 ounces per day are enough to maintain proper health.
Children vary with the amount of water they should drink in a day. A good rule of thumb that is fairly easy to remember is that kids should drink an eight-ounce glass of water for every year of their age. Therefore, a two-year-old needs two glasses, a five-year-old needs five, and so on. This amount is not affected by other things kids may drink in a day like milk or juice. Once they reach nine years of age, the adult rules of hydration apply. Of course, this can vary with a child’s development, so be sure to consult a doctor for a child’s specific needs.
The body uses water to perform dozens of tasks. One of the most important is cleansing the body. The kidneys filter the blood in the body and use water to dispose of any toxins. Water
is a major component of the blood, allowing it to carry oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body. Water is also a major component of the liquid in cells called cytoplasm. Cytoplasm helps cells to maintain their shape and proper function, allowing them to digest food, create energy, and properly dispose of waste.
These functions are fairly well-known to the majority of people, but water does things that most are unaware of. Water lubricates joints and cartilage, allowing for proper movement. This also may prevent stiffness and pain in joints. It hydrates the skin, helping to keep it soft and moisturized with the help of topical lotions and moisturizers. When implemented with proper skincare, good hydration also may help to heal acne or minor cuts and injuries on the skin.
Water is essential for bodily function as it allows nerves and nervous tissue to work as it should. The brain requires a great deal of fluid to function, and the spine is surrounded by a specific fluid made up of mostly water. This fluid protects the brain and spine, facilitating the electrical signals that they send and receive. Hydration should not occur all at once though. It is best to spread it out throughout the day, avoiding chugging water at any one point. Drinking water throughout the day helps control hunger and cravings, filling the stomach with water so that the correct amount of food is eaten.
Hydration is key to proper health, but what can occur when the body becomes dehydrated? Dehydration may cause headaches or migraines, fatigue, and hunger. Because every organ in the body requires water, dehydration may inhibit every bodily function. Digestion is slowed and inefficient, urine is darker and murkier, and one may feel tired or sluggish. Often, what people mistake as hunger is actually thirst. Before a meal or snack, sip on a glass of water to ensure that thirst is quenched and hunger satiated.
Proper hydration is crucial for healthy functioning. Water gives life to the entire world, and thousands of people do not have access to clean water. Dozens of organizations are fighting to get clean, safe water to people in need. Where there is water there is life. Be sure to drink the correct amount of water daily, and see how your body will thank you for it.