Water is emblematic of life itself. Humans, animals and plants can live without food for extended periods but will perish after a relatively short time without water. We have all been told that our bodies consists of more than 60% water, yet dehydration continues to be a chronic condition, particularly as we age.
The many benefits of H2O
Water is essential for the transport of nutrients from the food we eat. When food is broken down in the digestive system, the nutrients are taken up by the blood to be transported to the cells of the body. The blood relies on water for its volume and the cells rely on water for the movement of molecules across the cell membrane.
Water is essential for waste transport. All the body’s metabolic processes produce waste products which, if not effectively excreted, lead to toxin build-up in the cells. The bowel, being the primary organ for waste excretion, requires adequate water (and fibre) to give bulk to the stools and promote easy elimination. The kidneys, which are responsible for the removal of waste products from the blood, need water to move those toxins into the urine for excretion. Sufficient water in the blood is required to maintain blood pressure and provide enough force to push fluid through the cells of the kidneys, reducing the risk of kidney stones. The lungs and skin also, via exhalation and perspiration respectively, depend upon water as a medium for excretion of metabolic by-products. Lastly, the lymphatic system, which picks up waste products at a cellular level, needs water for efficient movement of lymphatic fluid.
Water keeps skin cells hydrated and plump. The cells of the skin are like all other cells of the body in their requirement for water. They will become dry and withered if severely hydrated but will take up water if available, to become fuller. Whilst drinking two litres of water daily will not see the return of the skin of your twenties, the cells will be more youthful in appearance, more able to function optimally and provide a more effective barrier to external damage.
Water is beneficial for oral hygiene. Just like the skin, the gums need adequate water to remain plump and maintain good contact with the teeth. Keeping the mouth moist is also protective against tooth decay and halitosis, as bacteria in the mouth has less opportunity to proliferate.
Hydration allows for clear cognition and alertness. The brain has a remarkable requirement for nutrients, including water. Water provides cushioning and lubrication for the brain as well as transportation of oxygen and nutrients. When dehydrated, it’s no wonder it is common to experience headaches, diminished mental acuity and fatigue.
Water helps to lubricates joints. Synovial fluid is a thick, gel-like substance that provides cushioning and lubrication inside the joints, allowing for smooth joint mobility. The more water available, the more viscous and voluminous the synovial fluid, leading to less friction between the bones.
Without a good supply of water, our bodies are less well nourished, our skin appears prematurely aged, and our organs, including the brain, don’t function optimally. We are more prone to toxin accumulation, constipation, poor dentition, bad breath, kidney stones, gout, cystitis, weight gain, muscle cramps, fatigue, chronic inflammation, headaches and joint pain. Lastly, unadulterated water has no taste and no calories.
Why not have a glass right now?