WATER: A Most Important Life Long Health Aid
Water is beneficial for so very many things, yet is so under used by so many people. Too often water is replaced by other beverages – many laden with sugars, calories and of little or no value nutritionally. This is becoming especially true with today’s young people. The generations that grew up with soda pop have turned to caffeine laden drinks such as designer coffees and teas, sport and energy drinks—everything except plain water—whenever they have a thirst. These diuretic drinks actually drain the body of fluids creating a loss rather than a gain in body water content. Prove this to yourself; ask a child or teenager if they would like a glass of water. Chances are you will get a negative response, but, if you offer them a soda, they will not refuse.
Our bodies are completely dependent on water; ALL functions of the body require water. Keeping your body hydrated enables timely and efficient functioning to occur. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue. Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue. Almost 66% of Americans, it is estimated, are mildly or chronically dehydrated.
Our metabolism is a chemical process involving energy; by drinking more water we can increase, or boost, our metabolic rate. In turn this increase in metabolism will increase calories burned reflected in weight lost. Often times thirst is confused by hunger. You may feel cravings and think food when your body actually is requiring water. The next time you have a craving try a glass of water; wait a few minutes and you may notice the craving has gone. You provided the water your body needed and avoided the calories that a snack would have added.
Many of the foods eaten today are high in fats, sugars and calories in the form of processed and/or fast foods with very little water. A diet consisting of these types of foods requires even more water consumption to make up for the lack of fluids in the foods eaten.
Most people require 64 ounces of water daily. Those exercising, doing strenuous work, outdoor work, and living in areas with high normal temperatures, and during the summer months should consider even more than the average 64 ounces daily to compensate for their added needs. If you are dieting it is important to drink more water throughout the day. When exercising drinking additional water will help keep your energy levels up.
If drinking water is unappealing to you, try adding some flavor enhancer – a squeeze of lemon, a few drops of orange extract, or any number of flavor extracts available. Eating fruits and vegetables high in water content will also provide much needed fluids to your body. Fruits and vegetables will also help fill your stomach without overloading on unwanted calories while providing additional vitamins, minerals, and photonutrients. A healthy diet will always include foods high in water content.
Water also helps the body to rid itself of toxins and keep the kidneys flushed, which will also reduce sodium levels. Water absorption by our bodies is based on how we drink it – gulp it down and it is excreted much faster than if sipped slowly. Small amounts sipped slowly throughout the day provide better body retention and healthier hydration.
Some of the many benefits of good water intake include improved skin tone, appetite regulation and increased metabolism, boosting energy levels. Water helps in reducing cholesterol; it helps regulate blood pressure, and may reduce the occurrence of headaches, decrease joint pain, and decrease the risk of developing kidney stones while helping to rid toxic wastes from the body. And surprisingly, the more you drink the less water weight retention occurs. All these benefits plus improving your skin too!
A word of caution: Don’t drink too much water! Electrolyte balances can be reduced by over consumption of water. Low levels of potassium, magnesium and sodium can be harmful. Adding a vitamin/mineral supplement to your diet will counteract this. People with kidney problems or stones, or other conditions requiring the limiting of fluid intake should consult with their doctor for advice on correct amounts to drink.
Water is a natural healer for the body required to regenerate bones, needed for healthy hair, skin and nails, regeneration of organ and nerve damage, and required for normal body functioning. Water is readily available, free of calories and a natural way to help maintain health and well being.