You need water to survive. However, many people do not choose water as their preference over drinks like soda or coffee.
Drinking more water offers a number of benefits you can experience almost immediately.
“Our bodies are made up of 60 percent water,” said Jane Ziemanski, a Marshfield Clinic primary care nurse practitioner. “Water helps us maintain balance between our body fluids and is needed for digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva and maintaining a proper body temperature.”
Water also helps control calories. Not only does it make you feel full and has zero calories, but there is no added sugar to make you want to eat more.
Additionally, water can help the skin by decreasing wrinkles, fine lines and dry skin. Increasing water may help with clearing pores since water gets rid of dirt and high sugar levels that clog pores.
Weather and activity level affect hydration
At certain times of the year, you may need more water than other times, like in summer when the weather is warmer. People who exercise need more water because they sweat and lose water through skin evaporation. Muscles also need water so they don’t feel fatigued after exercise.
Certain people can’t drink as much water because of chronic conditions like congestive heart failure or renal failure. If these people drink too much, their heart can go into overload. If you have one of these conditions and you are concerned with how much water you drink, consult your primary care doctor.
Rethink your fluid choices
Not everyone makes water their first choice. Many people choose drinks high in caffeine or sugar.
“Drinks with caffeine like coffee can act as diuretic,” Ziemanski said. “So instead of absorbing fluid, you’re losing it. This increases urination or sweating and makes you even thirstier.”
Soda is another fluid that should be replaced with water. Since soda, even diet soda, has extra sugar and other ingredients, it makes you thirstier and hungrier.
When you do not get enough water
Dehydration can occur when you do not get enough water or liquids. Some signs of dehydration include cramping, increased thirst, decrease in urination and fatigue. View this chart for more information about dehydration.
“You should always have water with you,” Ziemanski said. “Whether it’s in your car or at your desk, try to replenish your system with water as much as you can.”