Posted by: godswaytohealth | May 20, 2012

Our Need for Water

The human body is composed of approximately 70% water.  Water is contained in the cells of the body (intracellular fluid), in the arteries and veins (blood plasma), and in the spaces between the blood vessels and cells (Interstitial fluid).  The body’s water supply is responsible and involved in nearly every bodily process.   Water is required for the distribution of nutrients, electrolytes, hormones, and other chemical messengers throughout the body, as well as the removal of waste products. Water is involved in cellular energy production and the maintenance of body temperature. It is also an important structural component of skin, cartilage, and other tissues.  When we eat, breathe, and use our muscles, our body creates residue waste products that the body has to get rid of.  Good clean water helps us do this.  Without enough water we do not get rid of these waste products and the waste products that we do not discard have to be stored somewhere within our body.    Storing this waste seems to contribute to, or even help cause, the following:  lower back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, headaches/migraines, asthma, allergies, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, neck pain.    Besides ridding the body of toxins, water helps to reduce sodium buildup in the body, relieve constipation, and maintain proper muscle tone.  Water also helps maintain normal body temperature.   Water acts as a solvent for the vitamins and minerals we need everyday for our cells to do their jobs.   A precarious balance exists between fluid intake and output. You get water from three sources: drink (60 percent), food (30 percent), and cellular metabolism (10 percent). At the same time, you constantly lose water. A sedentary person in a temperate climate loses about two quarts of fluid per day, primarily through urine, sweat, and respiration. That amount can jump to four to six quarts per day in hot and/or humid weather, and one to three quarts per hour during physical activity. It’s easy to see how fragile your body’s water balance is.  Therefore, replacing the water that is continually being lost is very important.. While the body can survive without food for about five weeks, the body cannot survive without water for longer than five days.   75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.  And in 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 5%.  One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.  Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. If you feel tired some morning, try drinking a pint of pure water.  Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. (Maybe the so called arthritis is just a water deficiency in some cases!)   A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.  According to some nutritionists, drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.   During a state of drought your body switches into its “water conservation” mode. One of the primary ways it ensures adequate hydration is by holding onto sodium. The result is sodium retention, followed by a rise in fluid levels — the precise mechanism involved in abnormal blood pressure.  With more severe dehydration, your body is forced to get by on reduced fluid volume, so it compensates by temporarily closing down capillaries. While the brain and other vital organs continue to receive enough blood to meet their basic needs, some tissues must go without. As capillaries remain closed, the tissues they supply become starved of nutrients and bogged down with cellular wastes. Among the first areas affected are cartilage and synovial fluid, and the result is discomfort in the joints.  In addition, water-conserving chemicals are released. Chief among these is histamine, which reduces water loss, but at the same time may trigger respiratory problems. Prostaglandins and kinins are released as well, which can lead to a variety of discomforts. As you can see, too little water causes much more than thirst and a dry mouth — it parches your entire body.  If you’re only producing small quantities of dark, concentrated urine, you’re not drinking enough.   Why aren’t the health benefits of water discussed more often?  Part of the answer is simply that water is free, so there’s little to be gained by advertising its benefits. Water can’t be patented and owned by a company.  Even though you can buy bottled water, most people don’t have to buy bottled water to have clean water to drink every day.  This is why you often don’t hear very much about the benefits of water.  For example, it is not well known that many headaches are caused by slight dehydration and can be alleviated by drinking water; instead, we are told to take aspirin or other (and more expensive) analgesics.  If you often get a headache after hard work, the water you drink to take the pill with may be doing as much to relieve the pain as the medicine is.   NOTE: Many say that they do not like plain water. The effects are markedly cut down if one drinks store bought juice or coffee, etc. Digestion comes to play, and the body works, and the water is mixed in with the digestive juices and the effect is lost.  It is recommended that you not drink your large quantities of water with meals. A huge quantity of water in the stomach with the food can dilute the digestive enzymes there and affect how easily the digestion occurs.  How much water?  You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  As a rule of thumb, you should drink a half ounce of water for every pound of body weight, unless you’re very active, in which case you should increase your water intake to two-thirds an ounce per pound of body weight daily.      Thus, if you weigh 128 lbs., you need to take 64 oz. of water, or 8 glasses of water.    8 oz = 1 regular glass of water 32 oz = one quart (4 glasses of water) 128 oz = one gallon (16 glasses of water)    Getting enough water  Do not use the thirst mechanism as a gauge to judge hydration.  The thirst mechanism kicks in only after we’ve lost about 6 percent of water weight — way too late to prevent dehydration.  The problem of getting enough water becomes more common in late adulthood, because older people don’t feel thirst the way a younger person does, so if your are older, you have to get in the habit of drinking water even if they’re not thirsty.     Water and Loosing Weight   Water is closely connected to fat gain and loss the reason being when the body begins to run low of any vital nutrient — even water — it will trigger hunger to motivate you to go get some more of whatever it needs.  This is true for water because most foods provide some amount of water.  It can, however, provide many unneeded calories.   The thirst sensation is not a reliable way to decide when to drink water.  You may often feel the need for water as hunger instead of as thirst.   When dieting, it is important to consciously drink water to make sure you get enough because water is a necessary part of the body’s fat utilization process.  Water assists the body in metabolizing stored fat because your liver, which metabolizes fat, becomes overloaded when your kidneys don’t get enough water. Your liver’s fat processing function is compromised when it has to do the kidneys’ job as well.  Water also helps suppress appetite and relieve fluid retention problems.   There is a common water strategy used by dieters to drink a glass of water when you get up in the morning and then every two hours – whether you feel like it or not.  Just make it part of your routine.     There are many other reasons to drink water so remember to drink enough to stay healthy.

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