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Why is it important to stay hydrated?

December 2, 2014

When you feel thirsty, your body is trying to tell you that it needs more water. However, by the time that dryness hits your throat, you're already on your way to becoming dehydrated.

You've probably heard the statistics - about two-thirds of the human body is made up of water. Every cell, tissue and organ uses water to operate normally and keep you healthy, so it's essential to consume enough of the liquid. If you find that you're not drinking enough water every day, consider this information about why it's important and the ways you can improve your hydration habits.

Water's function in the body
You probably know that water is essential for urination, sweating and saliva - but that's not the extent of its uses.

The list of ways that water keeps your body functioning is expansive and includes benefits you may not have considered. You need water to move food through your intestines so your body can eliminate waste, to regulate your body temperature and to keep your eyes, nose and mouth moist. Drinking water can also boost your metabolism, protect your joints and carry oxygen to your cells, the Mayo Clinic explained.

Your intake of the liquid should increase if you're engaging in physical activity, spending time in a warm climate or have some type of illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you're sick, particularly with a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, water can speed up your recovery. Drinking plenty of water is also a great way to avoid catching a cold or flu because it flushes toxins and bacteria from your system.

How to drink more water
The amount of water you take in on a daily basis can be boosted if you make it easy to reach for a glass whenever you're thirsty. Either begin carrying a water bottle with you or place pitchers of water around your house. You can also substitute one of your normal beverage choices with water. If you choose to order water instead of soda or alcohol when you go to a restaurant, you'll actually save on both money and calories.

Speaking of alcohol, you can stay better hydrated if you avoid drinks that contain diuretics. Beverages like coffee, tea and alcohol force your body to lose water faster than normal.

If plain water is just too bland to inspire you to drink more, consider the various ways you can make it taste better without losing any of its benefits. You can add a wedge of lime, lemon or orange to the glass for a hint of citrus. People also love to make infused water, where you let berries and other fruit soak in water until it has an all-natural fruit flavor.

Don't forget about the water your body absorbs from certain foods and other beverages. The Mayo Clinic suggested eating soup because of its high water content, as well as fruits and vegetables. Spinach and celery are two great veggie options to boost hydration. Juice that doesn't have an excess of sugar is another good choice for improving your hydration habits.