A close family member does not care for water, or any other liquid for that matter (yes, I’m calling you out, Mom). If I believed in reincarnation, I could be convinced that she was a camel in her former life. On a good day, she might drink four glasses of water. I, on the other hand (insert smug tone), drink close to a gallon.

Water is awesome. Here are five amazing things about water that I think you will love hearing:

  1. Falling water, whether from a waterfall, creek, or a rain shower, gives off negative ions. So? Well, research reveals that breathing in these negative ions boosts our immune system, and has a tranquilizing effect on our mood.
  2. Hydrotherapy—something as simple as a hot bath—reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Additionally, in a German study conducted in Bavaria, researchers explored the positive effects of hydrotherapy and found that it triggers a significant increase in lymphocytes, which aids the immune system in better fighting off disease.
  3. Adequate water intake reduces the risk of three of the four most common cancers: breast, large bowel, and prostate (but not lung cancer). Drinking at least five glasses of water daily may reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent in women, and 32 percent in men compared to people who only drink two or less. And, get this: drinking enough water daily can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 79 percent in postmenopausal women and 33 percent in pre-menopausal women.
  4. Water can decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack. When dehydrated, our blood is thicker and likelier to clot, which increases our risk of stroke and heart attack. One epidemiologic study demonstrated that heart attack risk decreased about 50 percent in people who drank at least five cups of water daily.
  5. Water helps us lose weight! One of the important functions of the liver is to metabolize fat. And one of the main responsibilities of the kidneys is to remove toxins from the body. Inadequate water intake stresses the kidneys, making it difficult for them to do an adequate job of ridding the body of toxins. When this happens, the body recruits the liver to assist in this essential job. The result? Well, because the liver is helping the kidneys with detoxification, it is unable to metabolize fat efficiently, and the “leftover” fat is deposited in your body. So, drink your water for better results on the scales!

If you want to have less stress and feel calmer, and strengthen your immune system to fight off disease more effectively while reducing your risk of three of the four most common cancers, and decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack, and have help in losing or maintaining a healthy weight, then make the adequate usage of water a part of your daily lifestyle (Mom).

So play in the water, relax in the water, enjoy the mood-enhancing ionizing effects of water by visiting a waterfall, bubbling brook, the ocean, or by taking in a gentle summer rain shower, and drink at least eight to ten glasses of water daily.

You will feel better, stronger, and happier, and your body will function at its best.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to get a glass of water, because writing this article has made me very thirsty. In fact, why don’t you join me?

Author Lynell LaMountain is senior manager of mission development at Florida Hospital in Orlando.

Reprinted with permission from the August 2012 edition of the Southwestern Union Record