Water, the Elixir of Life

Water! It’s plain, it’s simple, and it’s free!  You may already be aware of some of its health benefits.  I trust by the time you finish reading this article you will be surprised how essential water is for nearly every function of your body. My ultimate goal however, is to make you thirsty….for water!  Our body is composed of 70% water and 25% solid matter.  Here are the percentages of water in the human body:

~Muscle consists of 75% water

~Brain consists of 90% water

~Bone consists of 22% water

~Blood consists of 83% water

We can last 30-40 days without food.  But without water, only three to five days.  Water is responsible for nearly every bodily process, including digestion, absorption, circulation and excretion.  Let me elaborate a little further the importance of this statement.

Water aids in our circulation and effectively reduces high blood pressure.

Water can help to prevent heartburn.

 Heartburn is a sign of water shortage in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract.  This is a major thirst signal of the body.  By treating heartburn with antacids and pill medications it can produce inflammation of the stomach and duodenum, hiatal hernia, ulceration and even some cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including the liver and pancreas.

Water clears toxic waste from various parts of the body and takes it to the liver and kidneys to be removed.

Water helps to prevent colitis.  Colitis is pain in the large intestinal tract, with this comes constipation.

Dehydration can also cause diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and polyps.

Water provides a lubricant which cushions in between the joint spaces.   Rheumatoid joint pain, also known as arthritis, is a signal of water shortage in our joints. The spinal column and discs can also experience water shortage causing back pain.

Migraines can be a sign of dehydration in the brain.

Water gives power and electrical energy for all brain functions.

Water is a great source of energy.  It generates electrical and magnetic energy inside every cell of the body.

Water can help with increasing your attention span. (Maybe you should stop reading and get a drink of water?)

 It will aid in helping you to deal with stress and increase circulation of cortisol and other stress buster hormones.

Water keeps our skin hydrated, therefore combating rashes, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles and dry skin.

Trying to lose weight?  Water is a natural appetite suppressant. Studies have shown that thirst and hunger are triggered together. Drinking more water can help to prevent overeating which will benefit in weight loss.  Inadequate consumption of water may actually contribute to excess body fat, and poor muscle tone.Water transports vitamins, minerals, proteins and sugars throughout our body to nourish our cells, tissues and organs.

How do I know if I am dehydrated?

Dark urine, either dark yellow or orange and has a strong smell is a strong indicator that you are dehydrated.  Your skin can be dry as a result of a lack of water.

Thirst, this is one of the most obvious signs that you are dehydrated.  Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. You may be thinking that you already drink lots of other beverages how could you possibly be dehydrated.  Substituting tea, coffee, wine, beer, sports drinks and juices may actually be contributing to dehydration.  The more of these types of beverages you consume the more dehydrated your body becomes.  Beverages containing caffeine can trigger stress responses that have strong diuretic effects which lead to increased urination.  Beverages with added sugar dramatically raise blood sugar levels.I do want to add that is it possible to drink too much water.  Over-hydration occurs much less often than dehydration and can upset the electrolyte balance.  Those with kidney disease may need to restrict their fluid intake according to their doctor’s recommendations.

What type of water should I drink?The best type of water to drink would be from a reverse osmosis filtration system as this aids in removing most heavy metals, petrochemicals, estrogen-like compounds, and micro-organisms.  These systems can be easily installed in your home.  This makes it convenient to refill your glass or stainless steel water bottles. You can do your research in finding a water filter that is suitable to your needs and price range.  If you are using bottled water it would be beneficial to purchase purified water and use bottles that are BPA free.  Harmful chemicals can be leached out from the plastic, especially in extreme temperatures.

 Now, the big question is; how much water should I drink?  There is a lot of debate about this one, however, from the studying that I have done, and for myself personally, I find drinking half my body weight in ounces a day is sufficient.  For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you would need to drink 75 oz. of water per day.  A tip that I have found very helpful in keeping my water intake up is to use a large enough (preferably glass) container to hold all or most of my needed water for the day.  I put this container on my counter or desk where I can see at a glance how much I have consumed.   My youngest son also has his own pitcher to help him develop the habit of drinking water.

For those of you who drink but a glass or two of water a day, I would suggest to slowly increase your intake by one glass every few days until you reach half your body weight in ounces. If you are a soda, or coffee drinker perhaps you can drink a glass of water before consuming these other beverages.

In time you will find that drinking water is more satisfying.  If you find plain water too boring, you can try adding fresh lemon or lime juice to add a little extra zing.I hope I didn’t “drown” you with too much information, but got you “thirsty” for wanting to improve your health with this simple, yet beneficial health tip.