"Water is undoubtedly the most important nutrient in the body."
Let me to be straight with you: I came to the writing of this blog-post innocent, hopeful, and on a hunch. See, lots of times people tell me I have nice skin. It's so nice when people tell me that, I'm grateful for the compliment. This whole time I have been supposing that my skin looks clean and healthy because I drink lots of water. I drink lots of water because I’m always thirsty: I use my voice a lot and I find that drinks that aren’t water (with the the notable exceptions of fresh vegetable juice and coconut water) make me more thirsty.
So, I decided to write a piece for Vapour about how doing a good job of drinking water helps your skin to look better. But, alas! There’s no research to support my hunch. Darn! The Mayo Clinic says, “Although proper hydration is important for your overall health, it's not clear whether drinking extra water affects skin hydration in healthy people.”
An article for The University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health says that, “The fact is that the skin is an organ, and just like any other part of the body, your skin is made up of cells. And skin cells just like any other cells in the body are made up of water. Without water, the organs will certainly not function properly or at their best.”
Ok, so we don’t have proof that water makes skin beautiful, but the facts are clear that water is a HUGE help to most body systems. The average adult body is made up of 60% water after all. As the BBC’s Claudia Hammond says, “Water is undoubtedly the most important nutrient in the body.”
The US Geological Survey puts it succinctly, “[Water] forms saliva, keeps mucous membranes moist, grow cells, reproduces cells, and helps cells survive, flushes body waste mainly in urine, lubricates joints, helps the brain manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters, regulates temperature, acts as a shock absorber for the brain and the spinal column, converts food to components needed for survival (digestion) and helps deliver oxygen throughout the body.”
Even though we might not get gorgeous glowing skin by knocking back 8 eight ounce glasses everyday, water supports the body deeply in detoxification. Detox specialists Rand Khalil and Lina Baker say, “Infusing the body with water will immediately stimulate your kidneys, liver and digestive systems (primary detox organs) functions. It will boost your metabolism, which in turn accelerates toxin and fat elimination.”
One of the ways water helps us to detox is through sweating. According to researcher Shanna Freeman, “Most people sweat out about two cups of water per day.” But we also loose water content through breathing, “Each day we loose a little more than a cup of water when we exhale,” and of course there’s peeing, when “we eliminate about 6 cups of it.”
So how much water are we supposed to drink? It varies based on things like gender, age, activity level and climate. Since we’ve broached the topic of peeing, let’s delve a little deeper into it, shall we? Dr. Douglas Casa who studies hydration at the University of Connecticut says, “The easiest thing that anybody could do on a daily basis is monitor their urine color, lighter urine--like lemonade--means you’re generally well-hydrated. If it’s darker, like apple juice, you are most likely dehydrated.” I promise I’m not trying to gross you out; nobody wants to be dehydrated, the symptoms of dehydration are serious and range from dry flaky skin to death.
I like the way they wrap thing up in the University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health article, “Everyone will not agree that water consumption will improve skin, but it certainly can’t hurt.” Sounds like they have the same hunch as I do.