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WATER WATER WATER: Why it is so important to drink water
By Kathy B. Glazer   View more articles by this author
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August 14

 

As the temperature rises in summer we know we need to drink more water to stay hydrated. But we need to drink water all year long as well. I am going to discuss why.
 
Some of the less well-known reason to stay hydrated.
 
Did you know that an adult’s body consists of greater than 60% water? The human brain is made up of 95% water; blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration, yet “an estimated seventy-five percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration.” (Water & Health-Free Drinking Water.com). 
 
You can only survive for up to 7 days without water, I’d call that an essential ingredient for good health. You can go for up to a month without food and survive. Most healthy people can adequately meet their water needs by letting thirst be their guide.
 
Why should you drink more water rather than coffee or soft drinks throughout the day?
 
Let me list the reasons:
  1. Water is needed for all body functions, such as digestion, absorption, transport, and metabolism.
  2. It aids in body temperature maintenance.
  3. It is vital for electrolyte balance.
  4. Water has no calories.
  5. Water may help with weight loss by acting as a natural appetite suppressant.
  6. Water prevents headache, or fatigue (caused by dehydration)
  7. Water may help people with respiratory diseases by thinning mucous secretions that worsen asthma
  8. Water may help people who have recurrent urinary tract infections (as it helps to increase urine flow)
  9. Drinking sufficient amounts of water may help reduce cancer risk of colon, kidneys, bladder
  10. It prevents bad breath as it washes away odor causing particles and bacteria and keeps saliva flowing.
  11. It prevents or reduces symptoms of heartburn.
  12. It prevents constipation. It flushes out toxins.
  13. It boosts your immune system and helps to fight off colds.
  14. It prevents back and joint pain.
  15. It’s good for your complexion
(Adapted from the Hope Heart Institute –Seattle)
 
So how much water do we need? It is recommended under normal circumstances:
  • Women: Drink 8 cups (64 oz. approx. or 2 liters) per day
  • Men: Drink 12 cups (96 oz. or 3 liters) per day
 
Please note that fluid requirements increase due to exercise, environmental factors, fever, pregnancy, and other conditions.
 
For Exercise:
  • Before- 2 cups, 2 hours before exercising
  • During- 1/2 – 1 cup every 15-20 minutes
  • After- 2 cups of fluid for very pound of body weight you lost during the exercise
 
Environmental Factors:
  • Hot or humid climates,
  • During/after sun exposure
  • In heated, indoor air
  • In cold weather while wearing insulated clothing
  • In high altitudes
 
Beverages that best meet hydration needs include water, milk or caffeine-free coffee or caffeine-free tea. Carrying a water bottle throughout the day makes it easy to remember to drink.  Keep a water bottle (reusable bottle) in your car. If you must drink coffee, then “alternating water and coffee in your mug is another way to meet your needs.” ADA. Take a water break instead of a coffee break. One can jazz up water with adding a little lemon or lime juice. If you are on the go you can use “True lemon”, lime or orange packets from the supermarket (freeze dried fruit crystals) to add to your water.
 
I do not recommend drinking sodas because they are high in calories and are void of essential nutrients. Keep in mind that soft drinks are the number one source of calories in teens’ diets and the only individual food directly linked to obesity (Ultimate Diet Log S. Schlosberg RD and C. Sass).  Drinking fruit juices are high in calories and usually lack fiber of the whole fruit. Do not forget that those fancy coffee drinks are full of calories (omit the whipped cream and opt for calorie free syrup). So next time you are tempted to pick up a calorie-laden beverage remember to drink water for your health.

 

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