How many people do you know who drink coffee non-stop or coke and sports drinks all day, but rarely touch a glass of pure water? Health experts agree that proper hydration is essential for good health. Here’s why!
The Earth is Made of Water
Did you know that almost seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water with ninety-six percent foundin saline form in the world’s oceans? Rivers, lakes, icecaps, glaciers, soil moisture as well as water vapor also contribute to the earth’s water content.
Similarly, water makes up a majority of the body weight of most living organisms. And our body, like planet earth, is predominantly made of water. For example, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, the lungs are said to be made of 83% water, our skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys 79% water and bones about 31% water. The overall water content of the body is said to be 60%.
Replenishing the body with a fresh supply of water daily is essential for good health. The amount may vary with age,geographical location and climatic conditions. However, water is actively involved in many essential bodily functions because it acts as a nutrient carrier as it helps to build the body. Water also helps to regulate our body temperature, flushes out waste, forms saliva, lubricates joints and assists in metabolizing and transporting carbohydrates and proteins. As such, water consumption enables our cells to use valuable nutrients and minerals.
Water and Your Brain – Effects of Dehydration
Dehydration can occur when your body does not have enough water to support its normal functions. It is especially important to replace lost fluids when we exercise, sweat, are exposed to high temperatures or when we are ill.
You can become dehydrated simply by not drinking enough. What we think of as adequate water consumption may only touch the surface of the body’s actual need for this life giving fluid. Research has shown that as little as one percent dehydration can adversely affect memory, attention, motor coordination and even our mood. This is because brain tissue fluid decreases with dehydration potentially leading to a reduction in brain volume and adversely affecting cell functioning. This suggests that when you are in a bad mood or “having a bad day” it might be simply remedied with adequate pure water consumption.
Avid exercisers also take note that even slight dehydration can cause a decrease in athletic performance. Chronic dehydration may further affect essential organs leading to constipation, liver problems, muscle damage, joint damage and more. Therefore it is important to replace lost fluids as soon as possible.
Water and Chronic Disease
Researchers continue to study the effects of dehydration vs adequate water consumption on chronic disease. Many of us are dehydrated without knowing it. You may have heard the expression “You’re Not Sick – You are Thirsty.” What is sometimes referred to as “Unintentional Chronic Dehydration (UCD)” can be the cause of chronic pain. Many health professionals suggest that degenerative disease can be prevented and treated by increasing water intake on a regular basis.
For example, drinking enough water is crucial for healthy digestion. Additional applications of adequate water intake include elimination of heartburn (a sign of water shortage in the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract), treating arthritis, (dehydration in the joints) and back pain caused by lack of water needed to cushion the spinal column and discs that support the weight of the body. Heart disease, migraine headache caused by dehydration of the brain and eyes and colitis caused by water shortage in the large intestine – all improve with adequate water intake. It is also an effective remedy for hypertension and high cholesterol.
How Much Water Do We Need?
The most commonly known water recommendation is a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses or the equivalent of two liters of water per day. Fruits and vegetables can also play an important role in meeting your daily hydration needs. However fruits, vegetables and juices are not a substitute for pure spring water even though melons, lettuce and cucumbers do have a very high water content. Avoiding excessive use of salt is also important for optimal hydration because too much sodium in the diet can deplete the fluid necessary to provide vital nourishment to the body on the cellular level.
Make Quality Water A Priority
Beware of many brands of bottled water labeled “drinking water” or “purified” water. Look for brands bottled at the source from pure pristine mineral springs. The best are costly and come in glass bottles or large five to ten gallon dispenser bottles. If you can afford it, invest in this health promoting source of fluid.
In most places tap water is not on the radar screen for good health. You can purchase a top quality home water purifier to address the defects in common tap water. However, GMOs add a new factor to the water purity equation, so you might want to take extra care in regions where there is heavy pesticide and glyphosate use. These toxic substances may be creeping into the ground water and your local water supply.Water contaminants include unhealthy herbicides and pesticides used in neighborhood lawn care. For this reason, you may wish to opt for pure spring water at all times.
Water – Hot or Cold?
Ice cold water might seem to quench your thirst on a hot summer day but it can simultaneously put out your digestive fire and lay the ground for chronic digestive problems. Room temperature water may be a more health promoting option. On the other hand, some health practitioners say that hot water is the only way to go. For example, the ancient system of health known as Ayurveda recommends always boiling water prior to drinking it and sipping hot water throughout the day. You can take a full day’s supply in a stainless thermos when you are on the go.
Water is Mother Nature’s simplest purifier designed to keep the body functioning at its peak. When you are thirsty, make pure water a #1 choice. If you take time to hydrate properly, always choosing the best quality spring water to meet the body’s needs, you will soon see an upsurge in health, energy, vitality and well-being.
Simi Summer, PhD is an independent researcher and freelance writer. She is a strong proponent of organic consumer education and informed consumer choices.