How many times have you heard a model, celeb, or fitness-loving influencer credit “drinking plenty of water” as one of her top wellness secrets? Perhaps the real question is how many times have you heard this and rolled your eyes? When cited as the chief reason behind toned physiques and camera-ready beauty, it’s definitely easy to scoff at this seeming oversimplification. But then again, staying hydrated in the name of health in beauty isn’t just a modern fad—in some cultures, it’s a long-standing and highly valued ritual.
For proof, consider Japan, which boasts the highest life expectancy of any country in the world and is often referred to as the healthiest. It’s popular there to drink water immediately after waking on an empty stomach—a practice thought to stave off disease, stay slim, and promote a long and healthy life. While there isn’t a lot of research regarding this particular ritual, there’s still plenty of science to back some of those claims up. Keep reading to see what they are.
- Water can settle a finicky digestive system. If you often wake up to a growling or nauseated stomach, this Japanese practice might actually help. One study found that simply drinking water can settle the stomach better than an over-the-counter antacid. (Water dilutes the acids in your system and restores a more balanced pH.) The result: You actually feel better and readier to tackle your day.
- It’ll prevent you from overdoing it at breakfast. If you have a big brunch on the agenda, drinking plenty of water beforehand can help you feel full, research shows—which might reduce curly fry–shaped temptation. (Not to mention it’ll help stave off any mimosa-induced headaches.)
- Your complexion might get a boost. We use the word might here because it’s tricky to find definitive research on the subject (“good skin” is very subjective, after all). But from personal experience and the advisement from our personal dermatologists and estheticians, we’d definitely suggest giving it a try.
And the best part of all this? Trying this ritual out for yourself won’t cost you a dime—so by all means, go for it.
Struggling to make this a habit? Check out these five tips for getting your daily fill of water.