More on the importance of water

Published 12:37 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022

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Last week, we learned some of water’s interesting properties. Let’s continue with more amazing water facts and some of its health advantages. 


It is commonly recommended that folks drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. That’s just a general guideline, with very little science behind the rule. However, staying hydrated is important. Here are a few of water’s healthful benefits. 

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Since the brain consists mostly of water, proper hydration is crucial. Water allows brain cells to communicate with each other. It’s also responsible for clearing out toxins and waste products from the brain and other organs. Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1-3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function. Water also carries nutrients to brain cells. 2. 


Water helps increase energy levels. Does water actually give you energy? No…not exactly, but it is definitely needed to produce energy. Water provides possible energy by helping to prevent symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness that come from dehydration. Drinking water will typically supply an immediate boost in energy, as the cells of the body are revived, receiving vital oxygen from the bloodstream. 


H20 helps relieve constipation,  a common issue characterized by infrequent bowel movements. Increasing fluid intake is often recommended as part of a treatment protocol. Low water consumption appears to be a risk factor for constipation in both younger and older individuals. Extra water in the stool allows it to pass more smoothly. Water also helps prevent kidney stones. Nephrolithiasis or kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and acid salts, usually in the form of calcium oxalate. Higher water intake increases the volume of urine passing through the kidneys. This dilutes the concentrations of minerals, so they are less likely to crystallize and form kidney stones. 


Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraine in some individuals. Studies show that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience them frequently. Since the brain consists of mostly water (73%), researchers believe that re-establishing the brain’s proper water balance is the basis for symptom relief. Drinking water maximizes physical performance, as dehydration can make a notable effect if one loses as little as 2% of their body’s water. Remember, muscle is 75% water, so if you’re dehydrated, it’s like running on flat tires. It is particularly important to hydrate during intense physical activity or high heat. Also, since the heart is 73% water, if you’re dehydrated, your body’s cells can’t receive the full supply of oxygen needed. 


Water can be a valuable tool when trying to lose body fat. Drinking water helps boost your metabolism. Also, water has no calories, and is filling, so drinking a glass before meals helps you feel fuller longer, so you eat less.


When many folks think of introducing more water into their diet, they imagine only drinking it, but did you know most foods contain varying amounts of H2O, and some hold more than you’d think? Fruits and vegetables are 90% water, cooked meats 65%, cheeses 70%, ice cream 69%, and yogurt 88%, for example. Even pizza can be made up of 40% moisture. Now, please don’t misunderstand; consuming water-rich foods is essential, but there is no substitute for drinking the proper amount each day. 


That portion can be different for each individual, depending on many factors, including gender, age, size, and activity levels. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women. 


A caution though…it is possible to drink too much water at one time. Drinking amounts of a gallon or more could be fatal, as it would cause the brain to swell. Also, don’t let thirst dictate your fluid consumption. In some folks, particularly the elderly, it is common for their thirst mechanism to shut down, so they can become dehydrated even though they don’t feel thirsty.    


David Crocker is a nutritionist and master personal trainer. Questions? Email David at or text to 864-494-6215.