Montana Public Radio

Why You Should Drink More Water: Dr. Starbuck Explains

Feb 23, 2017

Hi!  I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck, a naturopathic family physician with health tips about water.

Maybe you’ve heard your doctors or parents or teachers say, "you need to drink more water." And while this is probably a very good idea, I think a lot of kids want to know why, why should I drink more water? And how much water is enough?

If you’re one of those kids, here are the answers to your questions:

1. Water is essential. Every single organism on the planet needs water in order to stay alive. Organisms are living things – like your dog, a tomato plant, bugs and trees. We humans need quite a lot of water and we can’t live very long without it. 

2. We need water to think. About 73 percent of our brain is water. To study, learn, have conversation, have fun, our brains needs water.

3. Water regulates body temperature. Your body keeps your temperature normal by moving blood around.  When it’s cold, blood warms up our feet and hands. When it’s hot, we sweat. Since blood is mostly water, water controls the temperature of your body. 

4. Water helps digest food.Water helps the saliva in your mouth and digestive enzymes in your stomach. Saliva and enzymes turns food into the liquids your body absorbs for nutrition.

5. Healthy joints. Water is a big part of the fluid that keeps your joints – like your knees, shoulders, elbows – moving smoothly and easily.

6. Healthy mucus. Mucus isn’t just that thick gunk that comes out of your nose when you have a cold.  Mucus is also a healthy thing that we have all over our body, in our ears, throat, eyes and nose to keep body parts moist and slippery and working well. Healthy mucus is made of – guess what? Water.

7. Soft, moist skin. Skin is 64 percent water. When the water level in your body gets low, your skin shows it.  If you start feeling like you have crocodile skin, or your lips are cracked and chapped, you probably need to drink more water.

8. Prevent muscle cramps. When muscles work they make waste. If this hangs around, it clogs the muscles and you’ll get cramps. Water helps clear the waste out of the muscles. So when you exercise, stay hydrated and you’ll avoid cramps.

9. Clean up. Muscles aren’t the only things that make waste; the whole body creates garbage every single minute as it goes through daily tasks. Our bodies have to get rid of that in order to stay healthy and survive. One way we do that is by urination, known to a lot of kids as peeing. Urine – or pee – is mostly water. The more water we drink, the better we clean up our body from its daily work.

10. How much water should kids drink? Kids up to age 9 should drink 4 glasses of water every day. Between 10 and 12 years old, 6 glasses a day is good.  And once kids have become teenagers, they should drink 8 glasses every day. Your parents should help you decide the amount that’s right for you.

I hope these tips help you enjoy and appreciate our most life-giving nutrient, water. 

I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck and I’m wishing you well.