- Drinking adequate amount of water per day is essential for optimal health.
- Water strengthens the immune system through several important bodily mechanisms.
- The amount of water you need to consume per day is based on individualistic factors.
Water is the essence of life. The human body cannot survive without water because it is so critical for all bodily functions. In fact, on average, the body of an adult human being contains 60 percent of water.1 Not drinking adequate amounts of water can have such a detrimental effect on overall health that a reduction in 10 percent of your normal body water percentage can lead to a medical emergency.2
Despite water’s important role, many people do not consume enough of this liquid. While many people believe they are consuming enough water, they may not realize that they are indeed dehydrated. Consuming soda, sugary drinks, juice, sports drinks and other beverages does not replace the body’s need for plain water. According to research, 75 percent of Americans are in a chronic state of dehydration.3
Dehydration affects the body in a plethora of ways ranging from mild effects such as dry skin and constipation to moderate effects such as headaches and fatigue to severe effects such as low blood pressure, organ failure and shock.4 However, dehydration is also one of the easiest conditions to reverse that tends to be overlooked by medical professionals.3
The Benefits of Water in Strengthening the Immune System
The immune system is our body’s physical, chemical and cellular defense against invasion by pathogens. It is primarily designed to protect us from disease but a weakened immune system can no doubt lead us to fall sick.5 Nevertheless, there are several ways to strengthen your immune system—adequate water in-take being one of the simplest ways to ensure healthy functioning of the body. Outlined below are a few of a numerous ways in which water is beneficial to your immune function.
Excretes Toxins and Waste
Water plays a key role in the excretory system. It allows your kidneys to filter toxins, remove waste, and transport nutrients to other parts of the body. By not drinking the right amount of water, toxins accumulate throughout the body thus compromising your immune system.6 The same concept applies to the digestive system. Water assists in softening your stool to promote bowel movements to eliminate waste material. Lack of water will result in a dry colon and accumulation of waste thus leading to constipation.6
Drinking enough water on a daily basis is very important for oxygenation of the blood and for transporting blood and other bodily fluids throughout the body.7 In a well-hydrated body, oxygen-rich blood circulates optimally delivering essential nutrients to all tissues. Without adequate water, all bodily functions become ineffective leading to symptoms such as fatigue.7
Assists in the Production of Lymph
The lymphatic system plays a key role in reaching for optimal immune function. It protects the body from outside threats and disease-causing inflammation.8 Lymph is a fluid that is part of the lymphatic systems and contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Lymph fluid is 95 percent water; therefore, water is essential for the production of lymph.9 Not drinking enough water compromises the production of lymph, thus increasing your susceptibility to infection.9
How Much Water Do We Need?
The question is how much water should you be drinking everyday to maintain optimal health? While this is a simple question, the answer is not as straight forward. For several years, we have heard the repeated guideline of drinking eight 8 oz. glasses per day.10 According to some experts, this one-size fits all guideline may not necessarily be accurate since every individual is unique in terms of their weight, height, activity level, etc.10 Environmental factors such as weather conditions will also factor in how much water you should be consuming.10
Joseph Mercola, DO outlines the following guidelines to determine whether you are drinking enough water per day:
- The color of your urine is perhaps the best indicator of how much water you should be consuming. Dark colored urine indicates that your kidneys are retaining fluid, which means you need to drink more water. Ideally, you need to drink enough water to turn your urine into a light yellow color.10
- Use thirst as a guide to determine how much water you need to drink per day. Once the body loses 1-2 percent of water, you will begin to feel thirsty. Note that at this point your body is already in its dehydration stage; therefore, do not ignore this signal.10
- Frequency of urination is another indicator of whether you are drinking adequate amount of water. Urinating 7 to 8 times a day is considered healthy. If you haven’t urinated in hours or if your urine is scant, this is a good indication that you need more water.10
Replacing other beverages with pure water is the first step to living a healthy lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it.
1 U.S. Department of Interior. The Water in You. The U.S Geological Survey May. 2, 2016.
2 Jha S. World Water Day 2014: 5 Reasons You Can’t Survive Without Water. The Health Site Mar. 21, 2014.
3 Chronic Dehydration More Common Than You Think. CBS Miami July 2, 2013.
4 Dehydration: A Major Concern. Water Industry News.
5 Harvard Health Publications. How To Boost Your Immune System. Harvard Medical School June 15, 2016.
6 Fact or Myth: Drinking Water Flushes Out Toxins From Your Body. Underground Health Reporter.
7 Hearn N. Oxygenate Your Body: How To Restore Oxygen Balance and Help Prevent Disease Natural News Apr. 16, 2011.
8 Zimmerman KA. Lymphatic System: Facts, Functions and Diseases. LiveScience.com Mar. 11, 2016.
9 Proulx G. Water: The Universal Healer. Booktango Oct. 1, 2012.
10 Mercola J. Studies on Hydration Suggest Dehydrated Drivers May Pose Hazard on the Road, and Majority of Children Don’t Drink Enough Water. Mercola.com June 29, 2015.