Of all the food and beverages we consume every day, there’s one that keeps us alive, is calorie-free and virtually cost-free. Water is essential for survival, but here are many other reasons why you need to increase your water intake.

Water controls basic body performance and all our systems require water to function properly. Here are 12 surprising reasons why you need to drink more water.

Powers your brain

Dehydration triggers brain fog. A study found that students who brought water into examination rooms tend to score better in tests. This research suggests that water promotes clearer thinking.

Prevents cancer

Research suggests that staying hydrated reduces the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent and bladder cancer by 50 percent. It may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Improves mood

Studies show that dehydration affects your mood and makes you irritable and disoriented. Drink more water to think clearly and be happy.

Eases joint pain

Increasing your water intake can ease the pain in your joints by hydrating the cartilage and keeping it soft. This is how glucosamine helps alleviate joint pain, by supporting the absorption of water into the cartilage.

Eases hangovers

A hangover is caused by dehydration, so after a night of binge drinking hydrate your body with plenty of water to alleviate that headache.

Aids weight loss

Drinking water aids weight loss simply because it makes you feel full. When you’re satiated you’re less likely to binge and consume more calories.

Clears skin

Toxins in the body may cause skin inflammation, which leads to clogged pores and acne. Drinking plenty of water flushes out toxins from the body, and can reduce the risk of acne.

Maintains the fluid balance

Almost 60 percent of your body is made of water. To maintain your body’s fluid balance, you need to drink plenty of water. This is essential for regulating body temperature, digesting food and transporting nutrients throughout the body.

Improves bowel function

Constipation is common in those who consume less water. Medical practitioners advise their patients to increase their water intake to prevent constipation.

Relieves pain

Drinking more water helps alleviate inflammation and pain in your body as it stimulates your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is an arrangement of nodes, vessels and fluid that eliminate waste from the tissues. Water is essential for the smooth functioning of the lymphatic system.

Energises muscles

Working out and sweating causes your muscles to lose water. Dehydration causes muscle fatigue and pain. Make sure you stay hydrated before and after a workout.

Helps eliminate toxins

Drinking plenty of water helps eliminate water soluble toxins from the body through sweat and through the kidneys. Water cleanses your system and flushes the body clean of the toxic waste that tends to accumulate in tissues and organs.