Drink Water for Good Health

Drink Water for Good Health

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MSLIS
Posted 29 August 2016

Why Water is Important

Water makes up more than two-thirds of your body weight. A person cannot live without water for more than a few days.

Here are ten important ways that water helps to keep you healthy:

  • Your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all cells and organs in your body.
  • Water makes up saliva.
  • Water lubricates your joints.
  • Water in tears helps to keep your eyes moist and clean for clear vision.
  • Water in sweat regulates your body temperature.
  • Water helps to digest your food.
  • Water flushes out toxins, as it gets rid of waste through urine and poop.
  • Water is in lymph (pronounce, limf), a fluid that contains white blood cells that defend against germs.
  • Water provides a moist environment for your ear, nose, and throat tissues.
  • Water helps to prevent fatigue, keeping you physically and mentally alert.

How Much Water Should You Drink Everyday

The advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day,” is easy to remember. The rule should be phrased as, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” because all fluids count toward the daily total, according to Mayo Clinic staff.

Food, such as fruits and vegetables, provides about 20 percent of total water intake. In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are made up mostly of water. However, water is your best choice for the following reasons:

  • Water is calorie-free.
  • Water is less expensive than other drinks.
  • Water is usually readily available.

Drink Water to Prevent Dehydration

  • Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
  • Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
  • The time to drink water is before you are really thirsty. So, drink plenty of fluids every day, especially when the weather is hot.
  • If you or family or friends have a fever, or are vomiting, or have diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids to make up the water that your body is losing.

Take Action

The National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia cautions, DO NOT WAIT for signs of dehydration to take action. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.

Here are some signs of dehydration:

  • Not urinating much, or urine that is dark yellow
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability or confusion

If you experience signs of dehydration, call your medical doctor or other healthcare provider. For severe dehydration or heat emergency, you may need to stay in a hospital and receive fluid through a vein (IV). The health care provider will also treat the cause of the dehydration.

Cut Calories: Rethink Your Drink

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a free brochure called, Rethink Your Drink. The brochure talks about how you can cut calories in your diet by drinking water, instead of other drinks. For example, calories in 12 ounces of fruit punch equal 192, and calories in 12 ounces of a sports drink equal 99, and calories in 12 ounces of water equal zero.

When reading a food nutrition label, notice that sweeteners go by different names:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

The CDC brochure includes a section called, Better Choices Made Easy. For example, follow these choose-water tips:

  • For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
  • Serve water with meals.
  • Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
  • Be a role model for your friends and family by choosing water, or healthy, low-calorie beverages.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or to treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Cutting Calories. Rethink Your Drink
Summary Note: Suggestions on how to cut calories by thinking about what you drink. Offers may choices to encourage friends and family to drink water.
(Accessed 07 March 2016)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water and Nutrition.
Summary Note: Basic information on how water is central to physical health.
(Accessed 19 August 2016)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water Access in Schools.
Summary Note: Physical and cognitive performance benefits for students who drink water. Includes references.
(Accessed 19 August 2016)

Kenney, EL, Gortmaker, SL, Carter, JE, Howe, MC, Reiner, JF, Cradock, AL (2015). Grab a Cup, Fill It Up! An Intervention to Promote the Convenience of Drinking Water and Increase Student Water Consumption During School Lunch
American Journal of Public Health 105(9) (September 2015):1777-83.
Summary Note: Controlled trial in ten Boston, Massachusetts schools in 2013 showed that providing disposable cups in cafeteria increased student water consumption.
(Abstract accessed 19 August 2016)

Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Healthy Lifestyle. Nutrition and Healthy Eating.
Water: How Much Should You Drink Everyday?
Summary Note: guidelines for drinking enough daily fluids to stay healthy.
(Accessed 19 August 2016)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Dehydration
Summary Note: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of Dehydration.
(Accessed 28 August 2016)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Drinking Water.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus main topic page for Drinking Water
Includes links to health information from other government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Accessed 19 August 2016)

Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. Why Drinking Water is the Way to Go
Summary Note: Website on children’s health and development explains why humans, plants, and animals need water. Includes link to audio cast of Full Text.
(Accessed 19 August 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office on Women’s Health  Water.
Summary Note: GirlsHealth dot gov is a website covering hundreds of topics for teen-aged girls. Webpage on Water discusses how much water to drink, background on bottled water, and ways to drink more water.
(Accessed 19 August 2016)