Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stay Hydrated, Drink Water!

Water is a fundamental part of our lives.  Water has been ranked by experts as second only to oxygen as essential for life. The average adult body is 55 to 75% water. 2/3 of your body weight is water (40 to 50 quarts). 

Everyday your body must replace 2 1/2 quarts of water.
Adults lose nearly 6 pints (12 cups) of water every day. We lose 1/2 cup to 1 cup a day from the soles of our feet. Another 2 to 4 cups is lost from breathing. Perspiration accounts for another 2 cups. Another 3 pints (6 cups) are lost in urine.

We need lots of fresh water to stay healthy. Aside from aiding in digestion and absorption of food, water regulates body temperature and blood circulation, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, and removes toxins and other wastes. This "body water" also cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Conversely, lack of water (dehydration) can be the cause of many ailments.
Dehydration leads to excess body fat, poor muscle tone & size, decreased digestive efficiency & organ function, increased toxicity, joint & muscle soreness, & water retention. Water works to keep muscles and skin toned.

Have you ever felt the Thirst Reflex?

This "dry mouth" signal is the last outward sign of extreme dehydration. As our bodies try to adjust to being deprived of water, our thirst mechanism becomes disabled. The only time we receive the "dry mouth" signal is as the last outward sign of extreme dehydration. In addition, the thirst sensation gradually decreases with age. The result is increasing dehydration. As we start to give our bodies more water, the thirst mechanism begins to work again, but doesn't become fully apparent until our bodies are fully hydrated. When we are getting sufficient water, we're often thirsty. 

Among its benefits, water plays a major part in weight loss. Since water contains no calories, it can serve as an appetite suppressant, and helps the body metabolize stored fat, it may possibly be one of the most significant factors in losing weight. It's fat -free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and completely without calories." Also, drinking more water helps to reduce water retention by stimulating your kidneys.

Two factors are equally important when it comes to water:
1.   Drinking a sufficient amount
2.   Making sure the water you drink is high quality
The quality of tap water can vary depending upon where you live and whether the water is provided from a municipal site or you have your own spring or well. Contamination can occur not only from the water source but also from sources closer to home. For example, the quality of your water can be affected by your type of plumbing (whether you have copper lined pipes, lead solder containing plumbing, etc.), whether you use a well, and whether there is contamination from agricultural chemicals. If you are curious about the quality of your water, you may want to get it tested. In general, it would be best to filter city water before consumption. With rural (well) water, the decision about filtering is usually best made on a well-by-well basis. 

If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water, you may want to investigate getting a water filter. In general, the best water filters involve blocks of carbon (rather than granulated carbon) and are often combined with reverse osmosis filters. The under-sink types of filters are typically more effective than the type that attach at the faucet. I recommend carbon block or reverse osmosis filters over distilled water because I believe that too many desirable minerals are lost during the process of distillation. Many natural foods supermarkets offer good quality water filtration systems where you can refill your own jugs. For some this is a convenient option, yet for others having a home filtration system is more convenient. 

The quality of bottled water also varies greatly. Some water is good quality and other water is simply repackaged tap water. Bottled water can also be expensive, unless purchased in large amounts in the type of 5-gallon containers used with water coolers often found in office settings. Always read the label carefully when buying bottled water and look for the following information: 

Check to see where the water originated. High quality waters either name their source (which is typically a natural spring) or they list their primary ingredient as "filtered water" and also present information about how the water was purified and tested. Consider natural mineral water as a particularly good option. You can get a surprising amount of your day's calcium and magnesium and other key minerals from most high-quality mineral waters.
You can also try drinking bottled distilled water. It's water that has been turned into steam so its impurities are left behind. The steam is then condensed to make pure water. The process of distillation kills and removes virtually all bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and other organic and inorganic contaminants. Once distilled, the water is as pure as water can reasonably be. While it's true that distillation removes minerals as it eliminates various other contaminants from water,

The natural pH of water is close to neutral-a measurement of 7 on the pH scale. One of the unique features of water is its neutral pH-this neutral level allows the body to easily shift the pH either up or down, depending on the moment-by-moment metabolic circumstances. In most circumstances, the optimal step is to support the body's ability to carry out metabolic activities by consuming adequate amounts of clean, neutral pH water, and leaving the acid-base balance up to the body and its complex buffering systems. Read more about pH of water

Whatever option you use for guaranteeing high quality water, you also need to make sure that you consume enough water during the course of the day. Water is usually best consumed between meals if you are drinking a 8 ounces or more. As for intake goals, the National Academy of Sciences recommends (in its Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations) about 13 cups of water each day for men and 9 cups for women.

If you have a hard time drink water because of the taste, try one of the following to add flavor without the sugar to your water:
  • Lemon, Orange or Lime Slices  
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Kiwi Slices
  • Melon Slice
  • Fresh Mint
  • Crushed Strawberries
  • Mashed Blueberries

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