15 Reasons Water Aids in Weight Loss and Better Health

Susanna Sisson's picture
Water and weight watchers

Water makes up 71% of the Earth’s surface and comprises 60% of our body’s makeup. Water is essential for every cell to live and for cellular function in both plants and animals. The foods we eat are made up of water but it is the water we drink that is most important for maintaining optimal health.

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Water aids in weight loss – Water is the ultimate “low calorie” beverage and yet many people do not get adequate amounts on a daily basis. Drinking enough water increases metabolism, and helps burn calories. One study found that drinking water along with diet management increases weight loss. [1] Many people also associate thirst with hunger which can lead to overeating. Drinking water before meals can help us feel full and lower calorie consumption.

Water improved digestion – Water and fiber are a dieter’s friends and help remove toxins from not only cells but the digestive tract. Drinking enough water helps the kidneys and liver remove waste products. Without it many people suffer from constipation which can lead to toxicity and physical problems such as hemorrhoids or more serious issues like cancers. Also adding slices of fresh fruit such as lemon or orange or whole fruits such as strawberries is a healthy alternative and helps add enzyme that aid in digestion.

Improves workouts and recovery time – Whether working out in hotter temperatures or winter cold, staying hydrated is crucial. Thirst is a late sign of dehydration. Athletes and weekend warriors alike need to drink not only water but include electrolytes to avoid dehydration which can cause fatigue and soreness. [2] According to a study at Texas A and M, “Maintaining proper hydration before, during, and after training and competition will help reduce fluid loss, maintain performance, lower submaximal exercise heart rate, maintain plasma volume, and reduce heat stress, heat exhaustion, and possibly heat stroke.” However, too much water without electrolyte replacement washes out important minerals and can lead to water intoxication, confusion, coma and death. Drink to alleviate thirst and remember too, that you lose important minerals that are necessary for heart function during vigorous exercise.

Better energy – If you are feeling listless or fatigued you may be suffering from dehydration. Drinking water improves metabolism and energy.

Improved mental focus – Whether you are a corporate CEOs or a busy mom (both equally important jobs) you can benefit from drinking water. If you’re going to need to concentrate for long periods of time, keep water handy to help you stay refreshed, hydrated, and focused: Dehydration can impair your attention span, memory, and motor skills, so, it’s also important for our children to stay hydrated throughout their busy day. Adding natural citrus or mint to your water can be very rejuvenating.

Better sleep – Believe it or not having a glass of alcohol to help you sleep causes sleep disruption in addition to dehydration. So, rather than drinking alcohol have water about an hour before bed with a teaspoon of honey which contains magnesium and aids in sleep. Add a sprig of lavender to you water at night for a deep sleep.

Improves depression and mood - Dehydration is associated with depression. It is estimated that at least 65% of people who suffer from depression are dehydrated and even mild dehydration can negatively affect mood.

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Alleviates headaches – Not drinking enough water can trigger a migraine in some people. While headaches are common after drinking alcohol and people who are on dialysis also suffer from post-treatment headaches, just not drinking enough water can lead to headache. In one study people who drank water (from 200 to 1500ml) had relieve of headache within 30 minutes. [4] In order to prevent headaches, just stay hydrated.

Better kidney function and blood pressure – Blood pressure and kidney function are directly related to water consumption. Kidneys remove waste from our bodies, help control our blood pressure, and balance fluids, so they’re crucial to keeping our systems running smoothly.

Better joint health and less joint pain – Our cartilage, which supports and protects joints is 85% water so staying hydrated keep our joints healthy, supple and lubricated. Water also protects our spinal cord and tissues.

Cancer prevention – Scientific studies have shown that the greater the water intake, the lower the incidence of bladder cancer. Not only is water a great detoxifier, it dilutes carcinogens that may be in the bladder. Staying hydrated may also reduce the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer. [6][7]

Improves heart function and lowers risk of blood clots – Dehydration not only affects blood pressure, it can mean the difference between developing dangerous blood clots which can lead to heart attack and stroke or not. People who are dehydrated have thicker and stickier blood which increases clotting. Play it safe and stay hydrated especially on long trips and get out if possible and move around to increase circulation. Even in an airplane you can get up and get the blood flowing.

Prevents a hangover - Want to know how to prevent a hangover if you do drink alcohol? Simply have a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage to prevent dehydration and depletion of water in brain cells. It may not prevent intoxication but it does help. In any event, do plan to have a designated driver if you are planning to have cocktails.

Better immune function – Water bathes our cells inside and out. During cold and flu season, gargling with water and salt can help prevent infection. A study that followed 400 participants during cold and flu season found that those who gargled water regularly were significantly less likely to contact upper respiratory infections and that when they did, their symptoms weren’t as severe. [8] Use a humidifier to improve congestion during winter months because heat is very drying to nasal passages and skin. You can use saltwater to wash out nasal passages and sinuses that can house bacteria and viruses. Get a neti pot and use to flush sinuses with salt water. Some doctors recommend use of a water pick. Remember to wash hands. Studies show that while washing with soap and water is most effective, even washing hands with plain water and creating friction reduces bacteria. [9]

Eating foods with high water content helps replenish water and nutrients – Do eat water-rich fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries that contain vitamins, minerals salts, and natural sugars as well as fiber to maintain optimum levels or hydration and can hydrate more effectively than water alone.
Whether dieting or simply wanting to look and feel better, water is the key. So, when you want to reach for a beverage, make it a glass of water with a twist of lemon or a slice of orange and feel refreshed and revived. Your body will thank you.

Resources:
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26537940
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15212747
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15953311
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14979888
5. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/better-sleep/sleep-wreckers
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2072844/
7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10404059
8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16242593
9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037063/

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