Health Benefits of Drinking Water

Throughout my nursing career, I have both heard this saying and said it to those entrusted to my care, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Although this advice was given by Benjamin Franklin to the fire-threatened Philadelphians in 1736, it can certainly be applied as a health principle. Preventive measures are invaluable.

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

The body is composed of 50–70% water, depending on a person’s weight. Vital to survival, every cell, tissue, and organ in the body needs it for optimal functioning. Water aids in maintaining the balance of body fluids, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and muscles, lubricates and cushions joints, and regulates heartbeat, blood pressure, and temperature. It also controls calories, lowers tooth decay risks, increases perspiration, improves kidney and bowel function, and improves skin and tissue health. Consuming water may boost exercise performance, help with weight loss, and reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.

The general guideline for how much water to drink daily was eight glasses—eight ounces each or 64 ounces—but the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently updated it to about 15.5 cups (124 ounces) for men and about 11.5 cups (92 ounces) for women. Daily water needs are best assessed on an individual basis, and it is preferable to seek the counsel of a physician due to factors such as location, climate and altitude, activity level, metabolism, weight, and overall health. Pregnancy and breastfeeding must also be considered.

Whether young or old, drinking water can unfortunately be a low priority. “Older people don’t sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they’re on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic,” says Dr. Julian Seifter, a kidney specialist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Even if you’re not thirsty, don’t assume you’re drinking enough water. Instead, take a peek at your urine. If it’s a pale yellow color, you’re right on track. If your urine is darker or has a strong odor, then you could probably use more fluids.” says Dr. Sukol of Cleveland Clinic. Mild to moderate dehydration may include: constipation, dizziness, low blood pressure, dry mouth, fatigue, and muscle cramps. As the severity of symptoms progress, it can become a medical emergency requiring immediate attention. Severe dehydration may include abdominal pain, confusion, and lethargy, in addition to the mild and moderate symptoms above.

Here are some tips to help encourage you to frequently drink more water:

  1. Keep water available in your vehicle, at home, and at work, and while exercising.
  2. Inspiration instructs that we should not drink water with our meals. But drinking pure water a little before or after a meal will help quench the thirst (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 420).
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables like watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, and spinach, which have high water content.

To avoid dehydration and other risks:

  1. Avoid sugary beverages that can lead to weight gain and inflammation. These can contribute to the onset of diabetes and other diseases.
  2. Avoid caffeinated beverages that can cause feelings of nervousness and contribute to sleep deprivation.
  3. Do not drink alcohol. It can lead to an alteration of brain function, as well as kidney and liver disease. The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy are clear that we should not consume alcoholic beverages of any kind.
  4. Avoid sports drinks as they can cause fluctuation in the body’s electrolytes.
  5. Avoid energy drinks which cause an increase in heart rate. These drinks, because of their caffeine content, can cause anxiety, sleeplessness, an increase in blood pressure, and heart problems. If consumed in large quantities, they can result in death.

As with the possibility of becoming dehydrated, over-hydration is also possible. Although extremely rare, the condition of hyponatremia (low blood sodium) is quite serious, even life-threatening. This occurs when drinking too much water over a short period of time; the kidneys cannot sufficiently expel the excess water. Athletes tend to be among the most notable to experience over-hydration when attempting to prevent excessive water loss during prolonged or intense exercise.

“We are nearing the judgment. Already the plagues of God are beginning to be poured out. Upon some parts of the world God is permitting the plagues to fall. If we would escape these plagues, we must be pure, virtuous, holy, ever remembering that we are God’s property. Because He has redeemed us, He wants us to cleanse the soul-temple from every trace of pollution. He wants His people to be healthy Christians, physically and spiritually.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 5, 18

Sources: Nourish by WebMD – Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, Mayo Clinic – Staff, Harvard Health – Staff, and Cleveland Clinic – Staff; sources that contain water

Sha-Wanda Dillon, known to us as Sunny, is part of the staff at Steps to Life. In Sunny’s younger years, she was an aviation electrical technician in the United States Navy. After her naval service was completed, she went back to school and became a registered nurse. She may be contacted by email at: