In today’s world, we hear a lot about how eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking the right preventative measures can help us get healthy and stay healthy. But there is one other thing that is as vital to our health as any of these that is often overlooked. Even though it is one of the foundational elements of a healthy lifestyle, it doesn’t get the same attention as the others. Water. Clean, clear, potable water is vital to sustaining our lives and maintaining our health.
More than 75% of our bodies are composed of it and after air to breathe, it is the second most critical element to sustaining life. While most experts agree that on average a person can live as long as 8 weeks without food, humans cannot live without water for more than 3 to 6 days. This fact alone shows just how important water is to our health and wellbeing.
Why Water Matters
Our bodies use water and need water for almost every bodily function. Water helps with circulation by maintaining the right viscosity of our blood. It helps carry toxins and waste from our cells so they can be removed and is required for the removal process. Some parts of our bodies are made up almost entirely of water and it is mandatory in order for our bodies to function. We can lose as much as a gallon of water every day when we sweat, go to the bathroom, and even when we breathe. Replenishing the water we are using and losing each day ensures our bodies have an adequate water supply to operate effectively.
What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough
Most people talk about dehydration without really understanding how prevalent a problem it is in America and how devastating it can be both in the short and long term. When we think of someone suffering the effects of dehydration, we often picture someone in a movie who has just come out of the desert with dry cracked lips, who is stumbling and on the verge of collapse. While this is an extreme picture of dehydration, you don’t need to watch a movie to see someone who is suffering the debilitating effects of dehydration. Just look around you. An estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated which means most of the people you see today aren’t getting enough water.
Everyone knows that those cracked lips and stumbling gait are indicators that someone needs water, but do you know the signs and symptoms of chronic dehydration? They may surprise you and should help you understand why water can be said to have healing powers. Here are a few of the signs someone is dehydrated:
· Lack of energy and fatigue
· Aches and pains throughout the body
· Dry flaky skin
· Short term memory problems
· Impaired brain function
· Digestive issues including constipation, nausea, and vomiting
· Headache! Big reason people come to see me!
How Much Do You Need?
Most experts agree that people need 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to remain properly hydrated. The basic formula for you and your needs is your body weight divided by 2 times 1.1 as we live in a desert and then 1.15 if you drink anything with caffeine in it. Some of that water can come from other liquids like juice and milk or from foods that contain a lot of water. My rule of thumb here is cut it in half before you count it. If you drink 8 ounces of juice count it as 4 ounces. Beware of other beverages however, like soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol, which have the opposite effect and contribute to dehydration due to their caffeine and sugar content. Remember that you are losing, potentially, a gallon of water each day just going about your business; replacing that water is as important to your health as choosing apples over potato chips and yoga over a rerun of Desperate Housewives.
- Why is it important to prevent dehydration during sports (wiki.answers.com)
- Why you Should Drink Water Everyday (mayoclinic.com)