It's not exactly breaking news that staying hydrated is good for you. But ... why, exactly? What are the actual benefits of drinking water, how does hydration work in the body and are you drinking enough?
Hydration affects everything from your skin and hair to your digestion and mood — and here's your guide to exactly how.
The health benefits of water
Water makes up between 55%-60% of your body. Keeping your yourself at the right fluid levels eases along important processes in your body, such as proper circulation of the nutrients from the foods you eat. Drinking plenty of water also promotes healthy digestion and flushes waste from your system.
Looking to rev up your metabolism? Water is your new best friend! Research shows that one of the health benefits of water is that regular consumption increases metabolism, which can aid in weight loss, among other things. Sipping before and during a meal also makes you feel fuller so you're less likely to overindulge.
Water not only makes you feel better physically, it can also boost your mental capabilities. When you're dehydrated, you feel sluggish and tired. Drinking enough water keeps you energized, boosts your mood and keeps your brain's gears turning smoothly. Get this: A study shows that students who brought water to an exam actually got better scores.
So, before you reach for that extra cup of coffee during your midafternoon slump, try sipping water or snacking on hydrating fresh fruits and veggies instead.
The beauty benefits of drinking water
Drinking water helps your body feel its best. It's also essential for healthy-looking skin.
Your skin is made up of cells, and those cells need water to function. The problem is that the same thing is true of all the rest of your organs, too, and they're all vying for the water you drink. Even worse, your skin has to wait at the end of the line: Water reaches all other organs before making its way to the skin cells. How's that for a reason to drink more water?
One of the main beauty benefits of hydration is that your skin cells are able to hold on to that water. These plump cells make skin look firm and supple. When your body is dehydrated, on the other hand, your skin tends to look thin, dry and dull. Water consumption is a circulation booster that gives skin a natural glow. Essentially, more water equals heathier, more youthful-looking skin.
This isn't to say that chugging water will single-handedly cure your acne — but it certainly won't hurt. Dehydrated skin forms a dry, flaky top layer that quickly becomes a breeding ground for breakouts. Keeping skin hydrated and regularly flushing toxins from your system is a smart addition to your acne treatment plan.
How much water do you need?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 2.7 liters (or 91 ounces) a day for women and 3.7 liters (or 125 ounces a day) for men. These figures represent the total amount of water you should get daily, with about 80% coming from drinks and 20% from food.
Still, there are times when you need to carefully consider whether you need even more. If you're sweating a lot, spending extended time in hot temperatures, or have vomiting or diarrhea, you may need to make your trips to the water fountain more frequent. The most important thing is to listen to your body. Feel fatigued or dizzy, or notice your skin is drier than usual? Drink some water.
If you have a tough time getting in your allotted water each day, try purchasing a beautiful water bottle that makes you happy to take a sip. Add a lemon or orange wedge to infuse your water with fresh flavors, and in a pinch, set an alarm on your phone to go off at least every hour as a drink reminder.
Remembering to drink water all the time may seem inconvenient if you're not used to it, but the health benefits of water are well worth making it a goal. Work good hydration into your daily habits to keep your mind, body and skin looking and feeling healthy.
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