It’s the first day of the new year and it is raining here in the sunshine state. While watching the rain this morning it made me think of all the benefits of water. Not only do the plants in my garden and the deer that graze in my yard need water, but we humans need water as well. We cook with it, we bath in it, we water our yards with it and we nourish our bodies with it. Our bodies are made up of about 60% to 75% water. Isn’t that fascinating to think about. Over half of our body is made up of water.
With that said it is obvious that water is essential to our well-being. Not only does water carry nutrients and oxygen to our cells but it also has numerous other benefits to include:
- Suppresses the appetite to help you lose weight
- Helps to metabolize fat
- Helps to relieve water retention (the body will retain water when dehydrated)
- Helps to rid the body of waste byproducts
- Can help reduce pain by as much as 70%
- Increases energy
- Helps to regulate body temperature
- Lubricates joints
- Moistens body tissues
- Helps prevent constipation
Since a large percentage of the water in our body is eliminated through respiration, urination, perspiration and defecation it would only make since that we would need to replenish our stores quite frequently. Although food intake accounts for 20% of our daily intake of water we still must replace the other 80% by drinking water.
Dehydration or a lack of water can be a serious condition leading to dry mouth, cessation of tears and urine, fatigue, heart palpitations, muscle cramps, light-headedness, nausea and vomiting. Extreme dehydration can lead to mental confusion, weakness and possibly coma and organ failure as blood vessels begin to constrict.
It is possible to drink too much water. When we consume water in excess it can disturb our electrolyte or mineral balance while diluting our blood. This dilution can lead to lower levels of sodium leading to a condition known as hyponatremia. So how much water should you drink each day? A standard rule of thumb has been to drink 8 (8 oz) glasses of water per day. However, this does not account for our size variations and may be too much for some and not enough for others. An easy way to determine how much water you should drink is to consume 1/2 oz of water per pound of body weight. This equation will account for variations in weight and should supply your body with its adequate daily intake of water. So in other words instead of feeding a 40 pound child the same amount of water as a 300 pound man you are determining what intake is appropriate for that person. The child weighing 40 pounds would consume 20 ounces of water while the 300 pound man would consume 150 ounces.
There are times when you may need to drink more water than your daily requirements. Always increase your water intake if you are perspiring during exercise, breast-feeding or pregnant, with diarrhea and vomiting and when at altitudes of above 8200 feet.
So on this, the first day of the new year, make it one of your resolutions to drink your water. Your body will thank you. Cheers!