Scientific Health Benefits of Drinking Water
Water is crucial to our well-being, considering our bodies are compromised of 60% water. Factors such as body size, metabolism, diet, and environment determine how much you need to drink daily. A good rule of thumb for staying hydrated is following the '8x8 rule' which means consuming eight 8-ounce glasses (237 mL) of water daily. Below are the science-backed health benefits of adequate water consumption.
- Drinking water helps enhance physical performance and stamina.
Your body will become sluggish if it is not adequately hydrated, especially during rigorous physical activity and intense heat. All it takes is losing 2% of your body's water content to start feeling the ill effects of dehydration. However, athletes lose as much as 6-10% of their water content through sweat.
The symptoms of dehydration include an imbalance in body temperature regulation, diminished motivation, and increased fatigue. Exercise may also be more physically and mentally straining. However, you may reduce oxidative stress resulting from high-intensity physical activity with sufficient water intake, and this is especially important since muscle is made of approximately 80% water.
- Drinking water drastically benefits energy levels and brain performance.
The brain relies significantly on water intake for optimal performance. Even mild dehydration, equivalent to 1-3% of total body weight, can negatively impact several areas of brain function. A loss of 1.4% in fluids after exercise affected the mood and concentration of young women in one study. An increase in the number of headaches also occurred as well.
Additionally, a similar study was conducted in young men, which concluded that decreased working memory and increased fatigue and anxiety were apparent in as little as 1.6% fluid loss. Additional studies with subjects of various ages, from children to older adults, revealed that mild dehydration negatively impacts mood, brain function, and memory.
- Water is effective at preventing headaches and lessening their severity.
According to research, a headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. However, some studies show that adequate water intake effectively provides relief, even for those who experience chronic headaches.
According to a study involving 102 men, consumption of an additional 1.5 liters of water daily (50.7 ounces) resulted in drastic improvements on a migraine symptom scoring system known as the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life scale. In addition, 47% of the men who consumed more water reported an improvement in headaches, while the same effect of men in the control group was only 25%.
- Staying hydrated relieves constipation symptoms and frequency.
Characterized by an irregular bowel movement and difficulty passing stool, constipation frequency may be decreased with regular water consumption. Therefore, increased water intake is commonly part of the treatment protocol for constipation, which affects both younger and older adults.
For additional constipation relief, mineral water is shown to be particularly beneficial. Studies have proven improvements in bowel movement frequency and consistency when individuals with constipation drink mineral water containing high amounts of magnesium and sodium.