The human body comprises around 60% water so staying hydrated is important. It’s commonly recommended that you drink 237-mL glasses of water per day. Dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content.
Benefits of consuming enough water
1. Helps maximize physical performance
If you exercise intensely and tend to sweat, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.
If you don’t stay hydrated, your physical performance can suffer. This is particularly important during intense exercise (sport activities) or during hot weather.
This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, and increased fatigue. It can also make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally. So drinking enough water helps reduce stress and fatigue in the body.
2. Significantly affects energy levels and brain function
Mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1–3%) can impair energy levels, impair mood, and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance.
Your brain is strongly influenced by your hydration status. Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1–3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function. In a study in young women, researchers found that fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration. It also increased the frequency of headaches.
3. May help prevent and treat headaches
Drinking water may help reduce headaches and headache symptoms. However, more high quality research is needed to confirm this potential benefit. Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraine in some individuals.
For example, a study in 393 people found that 40% of the participants experienced a headache as a result of dehydration.
4. May help relieve constipation
Drinking plenty of water may help prevent and relieve constipation, especially in people who generally don’t drink enough water. Constipation is a common problem that’s characterized by infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stool.
Studies have shown that mineral water that’s rich in magnesium and sodium improves bowel movement frequency and consistency in people with constipation.
5. May help treat kidney stones
Increased water intake appears to decrease the risk of kidney stone formation. Urinary stones are painful clumps of mineral crystal that form in the urinary system.
Higher fluid intake increases the volume of urine passing through the kidneys. This dilutes the concentration of minerals, so they’re less likely to crystallize and form clumps.
6. Helps prevent hangovers
Hangovers are partly caused by dehydration, and drinking water can help reduce some of the main symptoms of hangovers. A hangover refers to the unpleasant symptoms experienced after drinking alcohol.
Alcohol is a diuretic, so it makes you lose more water than you take in. This can lead to dehydration. Although dehydration isn’t the main cause of hangovers, it can cause symptoms like thirst, fatigue, headache, and dry mouth.
7. Can aid weight loss
Drinking plenty of water can help you lose weight. This is because water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate.
Some evidence suggests that increasing water intake can promote weight loss by slightly increasing your metabolism, which can increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
A 2013 study in 50 young women with overweight demonstrated that drinking an additional 500 mL of water 3 times per day before meals for 8 weeks led to significant reductions in body weight and body fat compared with their pre-study measurements.
The timing is important too. Drinking water half an hour before meals is the most effective. It can make you feel more full so that you eat fewer calories.
Even mild dehydration can affect you mentally and physically. Make sure that you get enough water each day, it is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
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