By Dr. Joe Feuerstein
Let’s talk about water! A common mistake many people make is grabbing an ice-cold soda or energy boosting drink instead of water, but these beverages can actually cause you to become even more dehydrated!
Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
Here are a few benefits of drinking water. Water helps prevent dry mouth, as well as keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Water promotes cardiovascular health. Water keeps your body cool. Water helps your muscles and joints work better. Water keeps your skin supple, clear, and smooth. And water helps cleanse your body — inside and out.
When we don’t keep our bodies hydrated there are some risks which can include muscle cramps, depression, constipation, hypertension, uremia, gallstones, and even joint complications. Let’s break these down:
If you don’t drink enough water, you can get muscle cramps. You don’t have to be an athlete to get muscle cramps. Those who are minimally active but still don’t drink enough fluids are equally prone to cramps.
Without enough water, you could start feeling depressed. Here’s why – the brain requires 85% water – more than any other organ in the body. Water deficiency in your brain cells can result in an immediate cut down of the brain’s energy supply, which leads to fatigue, lethargy, and depression.
You can become constipated if you’re dehydrated. After you eat, the food is broken down in your body and sorted out based on what’s essential and non-essential. Dehydration causes the intestinal cells to extract water from the non-essential food in the intestines, causing the waste to become hard, thus making this bodily function more difficult.
High blood pressure is common in people who are chronically dehydrated. When your body’s cells lack water, your brain sends out “emergency” signals that result in the constriction of the blood vessels. This causes blood pressure to increase, which leads to hypertension.
If you drink an adequate amount of water, you’re helping your kidneys filter waste easily. If you don’t drink enough, it becomes difficult for the kidneys to separate necessary amounts of waste away from the urine, allowing waste that should have been excreted to get trapped and circulated throughout the body, causing uremia.
Not drinking enough water can also lead to one of the worst pains imaginable – gallstones. Dehydration can cause contraction of bile ducts in the liver, which can result in the formation of gallstones. Ouch!
Dehydration also causes the cartilage in your joints to rub against each other, causing weakening and wearing of your joints over time. However, with adequate water, you are forming new cells, and your cartilage can be repaired. Lack of water increases the delay of repair to these damaged joints, and, over time, your cartilage could wear out completely.
So, DRINK UP! Drinking water is essential for your cells and organs to function properly. If you aren’t currently drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day, don’t worry, you’re not alone! But let’s change that right now by slowly increasing your water intake daily. You’ve got this!