With the holidays finally behind us and healthy habits on our minds, many are trading pitchers of beer for glasses of water. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution to drink more H2O or you’re still fending off that January 1st hangover, we’ve uncovered some convincing reasons to knock back more water in the New Year.

Water It Down—The Need-to-Know

Water is the second most in the U.S. after soft drinks. This is a scary stat, since sugary soda is a huge health hazard, upping the risk of obesity, stroke, and other heart problems Kaplowitz,G.J. University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry, Department of Oral Medicine, Dental Assistant, 2011 Jul-Aug;80(4):14-6, 18-20, 22-3 passim; quiz 29-31. Bernstein, A.M., de Koning, L., Flint, A.J., et al. Wellness Institute of Cleveland Clinic, Lyndhurst, OH. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2012 May;95(5):1190-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.030205. Epub 2012 Apr 4. . Gibson, S. Sig-Nurture Ltd, 11 Woodway, Guildford, Surrey UK. Nutrition Research Reviews, 2008 Dec;21(2):134-47. doi: 10.1017/S0954422408110976.. However, these dangers can be avoided if people choose to drink water, which doesn’t have negative side effects. So help put the sugary stuff to the side and make water the number one drink of choice. The benefits really are endless. (Just take a look!)

Fluid balance

Roughly 60 percent of the body is . Drinking enough H2O maintains the body’s fluid balance, which helps transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature, digest food, and more.

Calorie control

Forget other diet tricks—drinking water could also help with . Numerous studies have found a connection between water consumption and losing a few pounds Stookey, J.D., Constant, F., Popkin, B.M., et al. Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California. Obesity, 2008 Nov;16(11):2481-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.409. Epub 2008 Sep 11. Dennis, E.A., Dengo, A.L., Comber, D.L., et al. Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. Obesity, 2010 Feb;18(2):300-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.235. Epub 2009 Aug 6.. The secret reason? Water simply helps people , and as a result consume fewer calories.

Muscle fuel

Sweating at the gym causes muscles to lose water. And when the muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired Aoki, K., Nakao, A., Adachi, T., et al. Medical Gas Research, 2012 Apr 20;2(1):12. [Epub ahead of print]. So for extra energy, try drinking water to push through that final set of squats.

Clearer skin

Certain toxins in the body can cause the skin to inflame, which results in clogged pores and acne Wolf, R., Wolf, D., Rudikoff, D., et al. Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Rechovot, Israel. Clinics in Dermatology, 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):380-3. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.022.. While science saying water makes the skin wrinkle free is , water does flush out these toxins and can of pimples.

Kidney function

Our kidneys process 200 quarts of blood daily, sifting out waste and transporting urine to the bladder. Yet, kidneys need to clear away what we don’t need in the body. Let's drink to that!

Productivity boost

In order to really focus, a could help people concentrate and stay .

Fatigue buster

Move over coffee—water can help fight those Von Duvillard, S.P., Braun, W.A., Markofski, M., et al. Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sports Studies, Texas A and M University--Commerce, Commerce, Texas. Nutrition, 2004 Jul-Aug;20(7-8):651-6. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is . Just another reason to go for the big gulp! (Not the 7-11 kind.)

Hangover help

If booze has got the best of you, help a hangover with a glass of water to hydrate the body and stop that pounding headache.

Pain prevention

A little water can really go a long way. Aching joints and muscle cramps and strains can all occur if the body is dehydrated Cleary, M.A., Sitler, M.R., Kendrick, Z. Journal of Athletic Training, 2006; 41(1): 36–45..

Keep things flowing

Nobody wants to deal with digestion issues. Luckily, drinking enough water which helps make things, ahem, move smoothly.

Sickness fighter

Water may help and dehydration, helping the body bounce back when feeling under the weather. Just beware—drinking fluids hasn’t been to beat colds in one swoop, so don’t swap this for a trip to the doctor or other cold remedies.

Brain boost

A found a link between students bringing water into an exam room and better grades, suggesting H2O promotes clearer thinking. While it’s unclear if drinking the water had anything to do with a better score, it doesn’t hurt to try it out!

Bottoms Up—Your Action Plan

The amount of water people need per day is up for debate, but studies suggest adults need nine to 16 cups of H2O. However this number varies depending on activity level, age, and how much water people are consuming in coffee, tea, or water-rich veggies and fruit. Here’s how to keep yourself hydrated: Begin by drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up, and 30 minutes before eating any big meal. (This will help control appetite, too.) Get in the habit of keeping a water bottle on hand at all times. And if the taste beings to bore, spice up the taste buds with a squeeze of citrus to the glass! Before you know it, all the benefits of water will be right at your fingertips… and in your body.

Originally posted January 2013. Updated December 2014.

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