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Our bodies are capable of surviving for months in the absence of food. But without water, we would perish in a matter of days. We have all heard about the importance of drinking water while exercising or working outside on a hot day, but most people don’t realize the importance of drinking water on a daily basis. Water is the foundation of our bodies and is the single most important nutrient within it. It is lost through several bodily functions, and your body must replace two and a half quarts of water everyday in order to function properly. Yet most people don’t drink half of the suggested daily amount.

Just What Does Water Do For Our Bodies?

In addition to helping us digest and absorb food, water boosts your metabolism, removes toxins, regulates body temperature and blood flow, and carries oxygen and nutrients to the millions of cells in your body. It also cushions joints and protects vital organs and tissues, including the spinal cord, from damage and shock. Water is also essential to keep your kidneys healthy. All the wastes removed by the kidneys must first be dissolved in water, and when there isn’t sufficient water, those wastes are not properly removed. This could result in reoccurring kidney stones and long term kidney damage.

The number one killer of women in America today is heart disease, and drinking water is one way of keeping your heart healthy. According to a study in the 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology, women who drank more than five glasses of water were 41 percent les likely to develop heart disease than those who drank less than two glasses.

Many people have been struggling with weight problems all their lives. They have tried every diet on the market, and still have trouble losing weight. What they don’t know is that one of the best kept secrets of a dietary regimen is drinking water in addition to proper nutrition and exercise. Aside from being calorie free, water aids in metabolizing stored fat and acts as an appetite suppressant, so it plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy weight. In his book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj noted that often times our “hunger” is actually our body asking for water, not food. It is also a common myth that drinking large amounts of water will cause water retention, which in turn causes weight increase. It may come as a surprise that water retention is actually the body’s way of compensating for the lack of water intake. So drinking more water will help to eliminate fluid retention, not increase it.

Why Don’t We Drink Enough Water?

Many people seem to think that drinking any type of liquid will help to keep the body hydrated because they contain water. But nothing is a substitute for pure water. And unfortunately, once we trade it in for other beverages, it’s hard to keep a taste for water, especially for children. Many of these beverages contain ingredients that may counteract the positive effects of the water in them. Coffee, tea and soda contain caffeine and diuretics, which is meant to flush water out of the body. As with most types of fruit juices, they also contain sugar which can contribute to weight gain and tooth decay. For those who prefer the taste of fruit juices, adding half water to your fruit juice can be helpful. Some water is always better than none at all.

Many people claim that they are unable to consume the recommended amount of water (8-10 glasses per day). One thing that may help with that is to have a large cup or bottled water that can be refilled at your desk or work area throughout the day and during periods of travel. If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding a bit of fresh lemon or lime to enhance the taste. Others are leery of the quality of water these days and don’t like having to run to the store to get bottled water. A home water filtration system is a good investment since most systems on the market today will last for many years. When you look at the list of positive things that water will do for your body, it’s hard to dispute the value of something so simple.

Drinking Water Will:

• Increase your energy
• Increase mental and physical performance
• Remove toxins from your body
• Help fight against illness
• Keep your skin healthy
• Help you maintain a healthy weight
• Help with proper digestion
• Reduce headaches and dizziness
• Reduce joint pain
• Help decrease asthma
• Help keep your vital organs healthy

How Do I Know if My Body is Dehydrated?

Most people think that the most obvious sign of dehydration is thirst or “cotton mouth.” This is actually the last symptom to appear. You need water long before you feel thirsty. Other signs of mild dehydration are pain in joints and muscles, headache, sore throat, back pain and constipation. Your body is a complex machine with signals designed to let you know what it needs. Water is an essential part of the oil that makes your body run smoothly. So take a moment to fill up.