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8 Facts About Water You Didn’t Know

Arko Provo Ghosh
Arko Provo Ghosh
Have you ever been told that if you want to lose weight, then you need to drink honey-lemon water or honey-ginger water or even just plain hot water because it will melt your fat? 

Newsflash, people: it’s a myth! Water in any form -  mineral, sparkling or fat-free (yes, that is a real product!) will not shift the scales by even a gram. By now, we know that only a balanced diet with proper resistance training will help. 

So, other than satisfying your thirst, does water have any other benefit? As a matter of fact, it has many other benefits. Water is a critical nutrient without which a human being would barely survive a few days. 

Let’s dive in and look at some facts about water:

1.	Regulates fluid balance 

In humans or any animals, fluid deficiency gets triggered by a physiological effect called thirst, and drinking water helps to regulate the fluid balance in our bodies. A water deficit is mainly controlled by kidneys, sweat glands, salivary glands, and parts of the brain are responsible for triggering the senses to drink water. Water deficit increases the ionic concentration in the extracellular compartment, which takes water from the intracellular compartments and causes the cells to shrink. Our brain detects the shrinkage and sends a signal to the kidneys to produce a small amount of concentrated urine which ultimately triggers thirst.

2.	Maintains body temperature

Drinking water helps maintain the core body temperature. Water loss through sweat is an important cooling mechanism in hot climates and during physical activity. Sweat production is dependent upon environmental temperature and humidity, activity levels, and type of clothing worn. However, if sweat loss is not compensated with fluid intake, our bodies can become hypo-hydrated which will cause the core body temperature to rise. When water intake is optimal, sweating remains an effective compensation for increased core temperatures.

3.	Improves physical performance

It’s a common myth that drinking water during exercise is harmful but research has proved that even mild dehydration - as little as 2% - can affect an athlete’s performance. Under relatively mild levels of dehydration, individuals engaging in rigorous physical activity will experience decrements in performance resulting in reduced endurance, increased fatigue, reduced motivation, and increased perceived effort. Rehydration can reverse these deficits, and also reduce oxidative stress induced by exercise and dehydration.

4.	Improves cognitive performance

Studies show that insufficient water intake or dehydration affects cognitive performance and can even produce mood disruptions. This may be of special concern in the very young, very old, those living in hot climates, and those engaging in vigorous exercise. Mild dehydration produces alterations in several important aspects of cognitive function such as concentration, alertness, and short-term memory in children (10–12 y), young adults (18–25y), and in the oldest adults, 50–82y. As with physical functioning, mild to moderate levels of dehydration can impair performance on different tasks such as short term memory, arithmetic ability, etc.

5.	Helps/Improves kidney function

Kidneys are among the most important organs in the human body. They help regulate water balance and blood pressure as well as remove waste from the body. For your kidneys to properly function, they need water so that they can filter out the waste from the bloodstream and excretion via urine. Water excretion via the kidney removes solutes from the blood, and a minimum obligatory urine volume is required to remove this solute load. If your water intake does not match the urine output, you could end up overloading the kidney’s maximal output rate and enter a hypernatremic state (rise in sodium concentration in blood).

6.	Dehydration can cause headaches

Water deprivation or dehydration can trigger a headache. Some observational studies indicate that apart from impairing concentration and increasing irritability, dehydration can also serve as a trigger for migraines and could even prolong migraines. In those with water deprivation-induced headaches, the ingestion of water provided relief from headaches in most individuals within 30 min to 3 h.

7.	Better skin quality

The skin is made up of about 30% water, which contributes to its plumpness, elasticity, and resilience. Improved water intake can improve skin thickness and density and offset trans epidermal water loss, in addition to improving skin hydration. This is important since the skin helps maintain body water levels and prevents water loss into the environment.

8.	Improved energy intake

Can drinking water have an impact on energy intake? In order to understand the difference between the levels of calorie intake after drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and water before a single meal, multiple studies have been conducted on adults. These show that the total energy intake level increases up to 7.8 percent after consuming sugar sweetened beverages whereas non-nutritive sweeteners (such as sucralose) with water are relatively consistent and ineffective on energy intake levels of adults. These findings along with other studies suggested that water may play an important role to reduce calorie intake and can be helpful to put a stop to obesity.

Conclusion

Water is essential for our life and important for survival. Humans cannot survive without water for more than 2-4 days. Water comprises 60%-70% of body weight. How much water intake is required is a very subjective question and it depends on factors such as climate, daily activity level, etc. 

Most studies have proven the benefits of hydration. If you’re not fond of drinking water, my suggestion would be to start building this habit gradually. Setting a water reminder on your phones is a great way to remember to stay hydrated.

This article is an attempt to put the importance of water for our health into perspective, as well as highlight its role concerning the rapid increases of obesity and other related diseases. 

Water is crucial for our survival and I hope this article moves you to ensure that you stay hydrated at all 

Reference:

●	Popkin BM, D'Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health..
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/)
●	Daniels, Melissa C, and Barry M Popkin. “Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review.”  
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929932/)