We’ve all heard it’s important to drink eight glasses of water each day. But do you realize that lack of water might cause many of your stress issues?

You may feel tired, depressed and have trouble concentrating. Everyone’s brain, for example, is 73% water! Dehydration can affect mental alertness on the job, lack of concentration when taking tests and fuzziness in holding a conversation.

Nutritionists often call water “liquid energy” because it keeps the body running smoothly. It affects muscle tone, blood pressure, kidney function, digestion and every physiological component of the human body.

“The internal organs, including the heart, all need optimum levels of water to function well,” says Austin, a coronary specialist who works with patients in rehab after they’ve had a heart attack. “I hear all kinds of people stating they felt dizzy, weak and thirsty before a heart attack. I try to help them make the connection: Water keeps the body in good working order.”

A school administrator we’ll call Carla says she did a review of her water drinking habits. She was deathly sick last weekend with no immediate explanation.

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“In thinking back,” says Carla, “I realized I had not had a single glass of water all week. I’d had about four cups of coffee each day, a diet soda with lunch every day, and a beer with nightly dinners. No wonder I was sick all weekend."

The body loses at least eight glasses of water each day. We lose two glasses through the lungs via breathing, two glasses through the skin, two through the kidneys and two through the bowels.

To convince yourself that water makes you feel better, try drinking at least 64 ounces each day over the next week. Even better, try drinking half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water every day.

“When I was a cancer patient 10 years ago, nobody told me to drink water,” says a business owner we’ll call Leonard. “When my wife recently went through chemotherapy for breast cancer, they advised her to drink 90 ounces of water daily to get rid of toxins in the body. She certainly did a lot better in her treatment program than I did.”

Extra water will also plump the skin. Any older person can look somewhat younger by religiously drinking water. The cheeks of the face, neck, and backs of our hands will show dehydration rather quickly.

“A friend of mine passed away recently,” says a cosmetologist we’ll call Norah. “The last few days of her life, she literally looked gray in color. I’ve noticed my own skin has an unhealthy color when I skip drinking water. Your skin doesn’t lie. It will tell you when your hydration is low.”

The liver, which is the body’s filtering system for many toxins, needs plenty of water to flush itself out. Your internal organs, such as the stomach, intestines, pancreas, lungs and kidneys also require water to do internal “housekeeping.”

“If you must enjoy a diet soda or two, chase that soda with a couple of glasses of water,” says a hospital nutritionist we’ll call John. “Don’t assume soda will work the same as water. Don’t tell yourself three large cups of coffee will flush you out like water. This won’t work. Nothing takes the place of plain, pure water for keeping the body healthy.”

The only way you’ll convince yourself is to drink water faithfully over the next two weeks. When you perk up and start feeling the energy, you’ll be a water-drinking convert. No diet soda tastes as good as a healthy body feels.

Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, "Cooling Stress Tips." She is also executive director of USA Wellness Cafe at usawellnesscafe.org. ©2021 Tribune Content Agency