Water, the colorless, tasteless compound that makes up an average of 60% of the human body, is an essential part of a healthy diet. Second only to air, water is the most important need that humans require to survive. The health benefits of water are so numerous and varied that drinking enough water is considered one of the best things a person can do to maintain his or her health.
Some health benefits of water include creating a moist environment for body functions and transporting vital nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells. Without adequate moisture, the ears, throat, and nose tissues can become inflamed, uncomfortable, or develop problems, such as cold and flu complications. Drinking enough water also helps keep the joints lubricated.
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Kidney stone development and constipation can be prevented by drinking plenty of water. Other health benefits of water include its ability to dissolve minerals and nutrients for absorption, maintain and regulate the body's temperature, and flush out the body's wastes and toxins. Drinking enough water also helps prevent urinary tract infections and bladder cancer.
Heart health is dependent on sufficient water intake. Among the other health benefits of water, the compound serves as a blood thinner. This prevents the blood from being too thick, allowing it to avoid clotting during transport.
One of the most popular health benefits of water is its role in weight loss and maintenance. Water helps the body metabolize fat. It also serves as an appetite suppressant, as well as a treatment for fluid retention, swelling, and poor muscle tone.
All of the body's systems depend on water for proper function and biochemical reactions. If the body is dehydrated, or low on water, it can result in fatigue, low energy, headaches, thirst, dry mouth, dizziness and other symptoms. Severe dehydration can even cause death.
A healthy body can expel more than six cups of water a day through normal physical functions. These include breathing, urinating, sweating and other actions. This average daily loss of liquid makes it especially important to replenish the body through an adequate intake of water.
Many people attempt to drink a sufficient amount of water by following the popular eight glasses a day rule. However, a person's water needs depend upon many factors, including sex, weight, and average water use. Generally, men are recommended three liters, or 13 cups, of water daily, while women require 2.2 liters, or 9 cups.