4 Secret Benefits of Staying Hydrated

For years, we have been espousing our 5 Keys to Optimal: 1) A healthy, hi performing nervous system; 2) Whole Food Nutrition; 3) Adequate Sleep; 4) Moderate intensity exercise; 5) Proper hydration.

Today I want to share 4 secret benefits of staying properly hydrated. While they aren’t necessarily “secret”, they certainly are not widely known. I’m a firm believer that the more you know “why” something is important or beneficial for optimal health, the more likely you are to implement it into your daily routine.

1.Joint Health and Connective Tissue Repair

A joint is where 2 or more bones are joined together by connective tissue to allow specific movements to occur. Common examples would be the hip joint and the knee joint. Covering the ends of the bones that make up each joint is a surface cartilage called hyaline cartilage. The purpose of hyaline cartilage is to provide a smooth, slippery surface for the joints in order for free flowing movement to occur. This joint cartilage is made of approximately 70-80% water. When you function in a dehydrated state, this joint cartilage is less effective in doing its job. The result is sticky or stiff feeling joints. This is particularly noticeable in the older populations. Dehydration is definitely an underlying cause for joint pain, especially weight bearing joints in the pelvis and legs. Additionally, if there is not enough water present in our internal systems, these joint cartilages will not have the ability to fully or properly repair at night. This, in the long term, leads to advanced wear and tear in the joint resulting in arthritis.  Staying properly hydrated is essential in helping to reduce joint stiffness and discomfort, promote joint cartilage repair and recovery and postpone the onset of arthritis.

2.Premature Aging of the Skin and Skin Conditions

While most people don’t know it, your skin is actually an organ. And like all organs, the skin requires adequate amounts of water in order to function properly.  A primary function of the skin is to help rid the body of toxins.  When the body is dehydrated, congestion occurs in the skin, resulting in less transfer of toxins from within the body.  This results in dry, blotchy, inflamed skin tissue.  Since the skin is a connective tissue at the cellular level, dehydration also causes the skin to lose its elasticity resulting in old looking, saggy skin. The best way to stay looking and feeling young and healthy is to stay hydrated!

3.Unwanted Weight Gain

As we discussed, water plays a large role in removing toxins from the body.  As well, it also helps to move energy and nutrients into the cells of the body.  When your body is functioning with less than optimal hydration, the signal to the brain from the cells asking for more water can often times be interpreted as a need for food.  Therefore, rather than drinking water as your body needs, we will eat food instead.  This results in extra calories being consumed, which overtime, leads to weight gain.  In the future, if you’re feeling an urge to eat between meals, try drinking 10-12 oz of water.  Creating this new habit will help in losing some of those unwanted pounds.

4.Overall Energy

Since water is needed for basic cellular functions, living in a dehydrated state has a significant effect on your overall energy.  Your body produces energy in the mitochondria of the cell.  Water is a necessary ingredient in the process of energy production. If you’re not staying properly hydrated you can experience fatigue mentally and physically.  So skip the Monster Energy Drink and grab a big bottle of water.

Many people complain about not liking to drink water because of taste.  A great way to flavor your water is to infuse it with fruit.  You can find diffusing pitchers online or at a local big box store, but in all seriousness, adding a cut up orange or cucumber to a pitcher of water is all that is really needed.  This is a great opportunity to get creative by combining different fruits.  You can even use fresh herbs like mint or basil in conjunction with fruit.  Bottom line here is…do whatever is necessary to get your daily required water intake because your health, performance level and longevity depend on it.