The solution to most of your health problems could be solved with a simple trip to the water fountain. Seriously. Feeling groggy? Have a headache? Want to lose weight? Drink more water. Since your body is made up of about 60 percent H2O, it’s essential that we drink enough to keep our organs functioning properly and keep our body in tip-top shape.
Sure, drinking water is in just about every article about health and weight loss, but that’s because it’s so important. And people are starting to catch on; in 2016, Americans drank more bottled water than soda.
Whether you prefer pricey bottled brands, filtered from the faucet, or plain old tap water, sipping on agua is essential for overall health. Make sure you're drinking at least 64 ounces a day to reap all of the health benefits—and read on to discover what happens to your body when you drink water, from the editors of Eat This, Not That!. And for the best ways to lose weight, and stay lean for life, don't miss our 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds—Fast!
You Immediately Feel Refreshed
There’s nothing better than taking that first gulp of cold water when you’re parched and feeling it immediately fill your body with the hydration it desperately needs. Actually, even if you’re super thirsty, it still takes a bit for the water to fill your cells and organs. Instead, that feeling of relief you get is called an anticipatory reflex. A study published in the journal Nature found that although the processes in your body that lead to thirst happen slowly, your body is able to anticipate when dehydration could happen, thus signals your body to feel thirsty. Quenching your thirst also happens rather quickly, usually within the first sip or two of water. This is because when you drink water, your taste buds signal to your brain that water is coming to feed the parched cells, and signal feeling satiated when you’ve had enough to drink. Otherwise, your body would take much longer to actually process all the water in your cells and organs.
You Have More Energy
Coffee isn’t the only thing that perks you up when you’re feeling groggy. Many times, people feel fatigued because they haven’t had enough water to drink. Instead of reaching for yet another cup of something caffeinated next time you get a bout of the yawns, try a big glass or bottle of water. H2O keep your bodily systems functioning at their best and perk you up to get over that afternoon slump.
You’re Less Hungry
Feeling hungry? It might actually be thirst, so grab a glass of water instead; some studies have shown that your brain can confuse the two. Plus, drinking water before a meal acts as a natural appetite suppressant and could help you eat less. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people ate 13 percent fewer calories than those who didn’t.
Your Metabolism Gets a Boost
Putting your body in fat-burning mode could be as simple as hitting the water fountain. There’s a reason drinking water is one of our 55 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism; a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that people who drank 17 ounces of water had their metabolic rates increase by 30 percent. The researchers estimated that if people increased their water intake by 1.5 liters a day (about 6 cups), they could burn an extra 17,400 calories a year. That’s about a 5-pound weight loss! For an extra boost, check out these 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat Burning and Weight Loss.
You’re a Beast in the Gym
Carrying a water bottle to the gym isn’t just for show; chugging enough H2O is essential for athletic performance. Drinking enough water helps your body convert carbs into energy, and deliver essential amino acids to muscle tissue, according to the Journal of Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Plus, replenishing your body with fluids as you sweat them out will keep your body moving at its best.
Your Skin is Brighter
Sure, every celeb ever credits their flawless complexion to drinking water. But there’s something to proper hydration that shows itself on your skin. If you don’t get enough water, your skin becomes dry, your wrinkles are deeper, and your overall complexion looks duller. Although drinking water isn’t a cure-all for all of your skin woes, it will definitely brighten your face and help fight inflamed skin.
You’re Less Bloated
It seems counterintuitive that drinking more water will help your body lose water weight. But as you start to get dehydrated, your body starts holding on to more water, causing bloating and puffiness. To slim down, make sure you’re drinking enough H2O throughout the day.
Your Brain is Focused
Having a tough time staying on track at work? Try drinking a glass of water. Since your brain is made up of 80 percent water, it’s no wonder proper hydration keeps your noggin functioning at its best. According to a UK study, mental flexibility improves by 14 after consuming water. So drink up for memory and creativity!
You Flush Out Toxins
Drinking more water flushes out toxins from your body. It sounds too good to be true, but there’s a scientific reason. The more water you drink, the better your kidneys will work. Since your kidneys’ job is to filter out waste from your blood, the more efficient your kidneys are, the more toxins are being eliminated. To keep your valuable kidneys in tip-top shape (and avoid painful kidney stones), stay hydrated.
You Fend off Pain
Plain old water could be a natural pain reliever. People who suffered from headaches and migraines found relief by drinking seven glasses of water a day, according to a study out of the Netherlands. Plus, dehydration leads to muscle cramps like killer charley horses; drink up to stay pain-free.
Your Digestive System is Regular
Sure, probiotics can help your bathroom schedule stay regular, but your digestive system also needs lots of water. To keep your colon functioning in tip-top shape, it needs to absorb up to 5 liters of water a day. So drink plenty of H2O to keep things ahem moving along.
Your Pee is Clearer
One of the easiest ways to tell if you’re getting enough water is a visual urine test; the darker color your pee is, the more dehydrated you are. On the flip side, if your stream is regularly a very light yellow, almost clear color, that means you’re drinking plenty of fluids. To stay healthy and properly hydrated, aim to have your pee color more on the light yellow/clear end of the spectrum. Any darker, and you know it’s time to refill your water bottle.
You’ve heard of “hangry” but what about “drangry?” Seriously, it’s a thing: When you’re so dehydrated, it makes you angry and cranky. Research has shown that drinking water affects your mood; even mild dehydration (defined as approximately 1.5 percent loss in normal water volume in the body) can cause people to be irritable. Stay hydrated to stay happy. And stay slim with these 26 Most Overlooked Ways to Lose Weight!