Most of us know that we don’t drink nearly as much water as we’re supposed to each day, but how much is enough? We’ve all heard of the generic eight glasses of water a day, but some experts say we need even more. Why do we need so much? Well, for starters, the body is made up of approximately 60 percent water. That’s more than half of your body weight, so you need a lot of water to sustain this amount.
Water also has some incredible health benefits that you may not have been aware of. For example, can drinking water make you smarter or feel more energized? Some research says it can. But not just any water will do. Tap water is supposedly filled with dangerous toxins, and some studies have even found that bottled water contains harmful ingredients. Here’s everything you need to know about drinking water, including how much and what types.
Health Benefits of Drinking Water
One of the primary reasons why we need to drink water continually is because we’re constantly losing water from our bodies, mainly in the form of urine and sweat. The amount of water you need to drink depends on your internal and external factors. Your number might be different from someone else you know. If you start to feel sluggish throughout the day or have problems concentrating, then you might want to increase the amount you’re drinking. Research shows that water can help boost your mood and concentration.
One study found that women lost approximately 1.36 percent of their fluids after exercise. As a result, they experienced impairment in their mood and concentration as well as frequent headaches. Other studies show that mild dehydration of approximately 1 to 3 percent of your body weight due to heat or exercise can also impact other areas of your brain function. Keep in mind that 1 percent of your body weight might not seem like a lot, but it’s enough to affect your brain and physical body performance. Therefore, you might want to get more than your standard eight glasses of water a day if you exercise or when it’s hot out.
Drinking lots of water throughout the day can also help you curb your appetite and lose weight. It might even be able to increase your metabolism. One study found that drinking 17 ounces of water can temporarily boost your metabolism by as much as 30 percent! Researchers concluded that by drinking 68 ounces of water in one day, you could also increase your energy expenditure by 96 calories per day. That’s about the number of calories it takes to run one mile! If you’re drinking water in hopes of losing weight, then make sure it’s cold so that your body has to work harder to heat the water back up to your body temperature. This process requires you to burn more calories.
Drinking water is a great weight loss tool. You can drink it in between meals to help you feel full and prevent eating unwanted calories. Research shows that if you drink water 30 minutes before you eat, it can reduce the number of calories you consume at your next meal, especially in older or overweight adults. Another study found that people who drank 500 ml of water right before they ate a meal lost 44 percent more weight while following a diet over a 12-week people compared to those who did not drink water. If you follow a healthy diet and don’t go overboard on calories, then drinking water could potentially be a game changer for your weight loss goals.
Additionally, water helps improve the digestive process as well as the overall health of your gut. Research shows that water is nourishing to your digestive system. It makes nutrients and minerals more accessible to your body so that they are absorbed easier. Water is also necessary to digest soluble fiber, which is a type of fiber that is needed to help the bowel form soft stools that pass quickly. The longer fecal matter sits in your digestive tract, the more water your bowels draw from it, which makes it harder to move. But by drinking water, you make your stool and the toxins associated with it more comfortable to pass. You’ll also help naturally detox your body to lose more weight, improve your skin and hair health, reduce inflammation, and help you think clearly.
Water has been shown to help you prevent the following conditions:
Constipation may occur as a result of a poor diet or lack of physical activity. It’s characterized by having three or fewer bowel movements a week. Drinking more water helps decrease constipation, especially in elderly patients or those who are physically inactive. Interestingly, the water used in several studies to treat constipation was carbonated. Carbonated water has carbon dioxide dissolved in it that has been treated under gas pressure. It’s similar to drinking water with bubbles in it. When it comes to constipation, don’t limit your water supply to carbonated. Drinking more water, in general, should be your primary concern!
2. Kidney stones
If you’ve ever had a kidney stone before, then you know how painful they can be. Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in your kidneys. They are made of a buildup of dissolved minerals from the lining of the kidneys. While most stones are small (only the size of a pebble), others can grow to be as big as a golf ball and consist of a sharp material like a crystal. Most kidney stones need to be passed by urinating them out, and they are usually very painful. Research shows that by drinking lots of water, you can decrease your risk of developing kidneys stones in the first place. And since you need to urinate them out, water can also help get rid of them if you do have one.
Can drinking water help you prevent cancer? Some studies say yes and others are inconclusive. One study found that drinking lots of water reduced the risk of bladder cancer in men by increasing the frequency of voiding and diluting urinary metabolites. Another study found an inverse relationship between water consumption and colon cancer. In other words, the more water you drink, the lower your risk.
4. Skin problems
Drinking water might be able to help keep your skin look younger. It could also reduce your risk of acne. One study found that higher water intake positively impacts normal skin physiology. The best part is that it doesn’t just affect one area of your body. If you drink more water, the skin all over your body will benefit from it.
Best Types Of Water To Drink
When it comes to how much water you should drink, the answer is simple: drink when you’re thirsty and stop when you’re full. Some experts suggest that you need to sip on water throughout the day until you get in at least eight glasses, even if you aren’t thirsty. This number increases if you’re exercising or if it’s hot out. When it comes to what type of water to drink, you have a few different options. Here’s a list of the best types of water to drink.
1. Spring water
Some people say that spring water is the best type of water you can drink. That’s because it is derived from the Earth, and what’s better than drinking water straight from Mother Nature? By definition, according to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), spring water is water that is derived from an underground source where it flows naturally to the Earth’s surface. But don’t be fooled. Even spring water is not without its impurities. Many companies will market their spring water as 100 percent natural or pure, but since the water hasn’t been purified in any way, is it really pure? Additionally, spring water isn’t always bottled at the source. Instead, it’s pumped into trucks and transported to a bottling factory. If what you’re looking for is water that has been purified of harmful chemicals, then you want purified water.
2. Purified water
Purified water is similar to filtered water but its benefits go a step further. Just like filtered water, purified water is put through a process that strips it of harmful ingredients. First, it’s run through carbon filters to remove substances like chlorine. It might also go through a micron filter as well. Then it goes through additional steps such as distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis to make it a cleaner source than spring water.
3. Alkaline water
Alkaline water is water that has an alkaline pH to help prevent chronic diseases, regulate the body’s pH levels, slow down the aging process, and naturally detox the body. Your pH levels are measured on a scale of 0 to 14. A reader of 1 would indicate very acidic while something with a pH of 12 or 13 is alkaline. Research shows that when your body is full of toxins due to poor eating, an inactive lifestyle or chronic stress, your pH levels may be too acidic. To combat this, many people drink alkaline water to help restore their blood pH levels and get rid of toxins. Alkaline water has a few key benefits. First, it has been filtered from impurities, and then minerals are added to it, including calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. The idea behind using alkaline water is that no disease can thrive in an alkaline environment. On average, your blood pH levels should be 7.365. So if they are high, then drinking alkaline water can help bring your numbers back to normal.
4. Tap water
Tap water is the easiest way to get your eight glasses of water in because it comes right out of the kitchen sink. But tap water can contain numerous harmful chemicals, such as chlorine, fluoride, trihalomethanes (THMs), hormones, pesticides, arsenic, mercury, lead, radium, nitrates, pharmaceutical drugs, and perchlorates (rockey fuel). The bad news about tap water is that it’s also the water you bathe in, brush your teeth in, and wash your clothes in. So if the tap water in your area is full of chemicals, there is really no way to escape it unless you install a filtration system in your home.
One study even found that fluoridated water may cause brain damage. The study was conducted by researchers at Icahn School of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health in 2006. Researchers found that fluoride was one of 11 industrial chemicals that have neurotoxicant properties. Other poison on the list included lead and arsenic, both of which are also found in tap water. These neurotoxins are especially dangerous to infants and fetuses. According to one of the authors of the study, neurotoxins cause a brain drain, which could possibly reduce the intelligence in generations to come.
5. Bottled water
After reading about all the garbage found in tap water, it would be nice to think that bottled water is free from all harmful ingredients. But even bottled water isn’t without its impurities. Recent research shows that bottled water contains plastic. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that it is launching a review of the risks of plastic in bottled water after one study found that more than 90 percent of samples from the world’s most popular bottled water brands contained tiny pieces of plastic. Only 17 of the 259 bottles that were tested proved to be free of plastic. The average amount of plastic in each bottle of water contained around 325 pieces of microplastic including polyethylene terephthalate, nylon, and polypropylene. The worst offender was a bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, which contained more than 10,000 pieces of microplastic. Other leading offenders included Aqua with 4,713 pieces of plastic, Bisleri with 5,230 plastic pieces, and Gerolsteiner with 5,160 pieces of plastic in one bottle.
So where does that leave you? If purification is on your mind, then it might be in your best interest to invest in a home filtration system that cleans all sources of water in your home. You could also switch up your sources of water to avoid ingesting too much of any one kind. The important thing is to drink up and don’t let yourself get thirsty because that’s how your body tells you that your levels are low.