If you were to compare a bottle of water to a bottle of soda, the soda would likely look more inviting; after all, the soda is fizzy, it comes in bright colors, and it is sure to satisfy that sweet tooth. Conversely, water is colorless, flavorless, and boring.
It’s no wonder that soda was the top drink in the U.S. for more than two decades, and according to industry tracker BeverageDigest, the average American adult drinks approximately 44 gallons of soda a year.
However, before you grab another can or chug down another Diet Coke, you might want to reach for your water bottle instead. Water might not look interesting on the surface, but you’ll be amazed at what it can do for you.
You probably already know that water is good for your body. Without water, the human body shuts down within a week, though this time frame varies depending on temperature and physical activity.
But, almost anything can keep you hydrated-even certain foods will fulfill your necessary fluid intake. Some individuals have lived (albeit unhealthily) for years without drinking pure water because they opted for soda or juice instead.
So what’s so great about drinking water?
It May Help You Lose Weight
According to a study presented at the American Chemical Society in 2010, subjects who drink two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals are more likely to lose weight. In the study, subjects who drank water before meals consumed fewer calories per meal and lost 15.5 pounds over 12 weeks. Those who did not drink water before meals only lost about 11 pounds over the course of the study.
It Improves Your Skin
In an exploratory study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers found that drinking more than 2 L (about half a gallon) had a positive impact on skin physiology. While the exact effects varied depending on whether the water was mineral water or tap water, it certainly doesn’t hurt to drink up!
It Energizes Your Muscles
If you’re hitting the gym on a regular basis, be sure to take your water bottle with you. In a 1997 study published in Mineral and Electrolyte Metabolism, German researchers found cell volume (controlled by cell hydration) affected protein metabolism. In a nutshell, well-hydrated cells could process proteins better than cells that were not well hydrated. If you want to build bigger muscles, drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
Not fully convinced that you should drop the soda in favor of water? Water has additional benefits to offer-so drink to your health!
It Improves Concentration
In a study presented at the British Psychological Society annual meeting of 2012, researchers found that undergrads who drank water during their exams outperformed those who didn’t. Furthermore, some experts assert that a decrease in water weight by as little as 1% can have a negative impact on concentration and focus.
It Balances Mood and Emotions
In a 2011 study published in Nutrients, researchers discovered that young children between 7 and 9 years old experienced a significant improvement in both memory, mood, and cognition when they drank water. Researchers surmised that older adults and younger children are at higher risk of dehydration because they are not always in control of their access to fluid. Consequently, it’s a good idea to keep your family as hydrated as you are!\
Ways to Drink More Water
You may have heard that it’s a good idea to drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay fully hydrated. But, this is a myth, as fluid intakeneeds vary depending on your individual needs, environment, and activity level. A good rule of thumb is to drink regularly and frequently: if you’re thirsty, take a sip.
Need some help incorporating more water into your day? These tips can help you get started:
- Take a water bottle with you wherever you go
- Substitute water for soda
- Drink water before, during, and after meals
- Use your smartphone to keep track of how much you drink
Water can get pretty boring, if that’s all you ever drink! You can make it more exciting by adding chunks of watermelon, sprigs of mint, or slices of orange or lemon. Flavoring agents are also available in stores.
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
Now that you’re sold on the amazing benefits of drinking clean, pure water, it can be easy to go a little overboard. Keep in mind thatwater intoxication can occur if you drink large amounts of water in a short amount of time, though this condition is rare (it can happen in drinking contests and after extreme sessions of exercise).
Fortunately, if you listen to your body and drink whenever you’re thirsty, you’ll be just fine. So drink up! You’re doing your body a favor.