By Gabrielle Rente
Elm Staff Writer
Every living organism requires water to survive, and humans are no different. On average, water makes up 65 percent of the adult body. Since it is a universal solvent, water helps carry nutrients and hormones throughout the body, regulate body temperature, cushion joints, and flush out toxins and waste.
We have so many uses for water that we can’t take this necessity for granted, but with a bustling schedule, we can forget to take care of ourselves. While we can survive for roughly three days without water, the initial signs of dehydration begin with a dry mouth and a light head. A person’s response time and detection of pain decrease along with blood pressure and volume. A person may also suffer from muscle spasms and nausea.
Staying properly hydrated is important, especially in a stressful environment, and there are many more health benefits to remaining hydrated.
Relieves Fatigue and Improves Mood: Next time you are feeling lethargic, instead of a cup of coffee, get a drink of water! Fatigue is one of the first symptoms of dehydration. Studies reveal that even mildly dehydrated individuals have a lower performance rate due to the negative impact on cognitive function created by dehydration. So drink up!
Promotes Healthy Skin: Another superpower of water is that it can improve capillary blood flow and increasing the elasticity of your skin. It also helps replenish skin tissues and treat acne and wrinkles. When hydrated, your skin is moisturized, soft, and glowing.
Aids Digestion and Weight Loss: Studies show that drinking enough water helps boost the metabolism and improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Drinking a glass of water before a meal helps suppress cravings. It is also a great replacement for high-calorie drinks that can lead to weight gain.
Flushes Out Toxins: Water is also excellent at ridding your body of toxins and waste. By improving kidney function, it also helps prevent kidney stones by filtering out salts and other minerals.
Much like over-watering plants, it is possible to drink too much water. The cells contain electrolytes which allow your muscles and nerves to work properly along with blood flow. The concentration inside and outside the cells remains balanced due to the kidney’s function of flushing out excess water; however, they can only process fluids at a certain rate. When a lot of water is consumed in a short amount of time, the cells then absorb the excess water to even out the concentration, increasing in size. The brain has no room for these plump cells in the skull, resulting in extreme headaches, confusion, seizures, respiratory arrest, and possibly death. Luckily, cases of water intoxication are rare.
While we are told to drink eight cups of water a day, there is no solid evidence to support this. The mount of water necessary to function differs from person to person. Having a water bottle on your person is a great way to remain hydrated throughout the day as scientists suggest drinking to your thirst is the best indicator for required hydration.
Not everyone has access to clean water like we do. March 22 is World Water Day, a day dedicated by the United Nations to tacking the global water crisis. Today there are 663 million people living without safe drinking water. The theme this year is wastewater, focusing on ways to reduce water use and promoting education on the water cycle. An easy way to participate is to donate to WaterEquity, a foundation cofounded by Matt Damon to provide drinking water all over the world. Another great way to get involved is becoming aware of your water use. Just the small act of turning the facet off while brushing your teeth or skipping the sing-off in the shower goes a long way to reducing wastewater so that everyone can lead a healthy lifestyle.