Drinking Water? 6 Reasons to Drink Water (cont.)

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Guest. "Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate," he says.

When you're getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.

If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don't get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration -- and the result is constipation.

"Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly," says Kolemay.

5 Tips to Help You Drink More

If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:

  1. Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
  2. Choose beverages you enjoy; you're likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
  4. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
  5. Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you're watching calories, go for non-caloric beverages or water.

Medically Reviewed May 8, 2008.


SOURCES: Steve S. Guest, MD, nephrologist; medical director, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara, Calif.; adjunct clinical professor of medicine, Stanford University. Barbara Rolls, PhD, Guthrie Chair of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa; author, The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan. Kenneth Ellner, MD, dermatologist, Atlanta. Joan Kolemay, MBA, RD, dietitian, Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. American College of Sports Medicine: "Exercise and Fluid Replacement," 1996.

© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


Last Editorial Review: 5/9/2008



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