Do you realize that water plays an integral role in nearly all of your body’s biological processes? Everything from controlling your internal thermostat to regulating blood pressure to eliminating waste relies on this vital nutrient. Water intake and human health experts warn that low-grade dehydration is a chronic, widespread problem that compromises your well-being, energy, vitality, immunity, appearance, and resiliency.
Christopher Vasey, ND, a Swiss naturopath and author of The Water Prescription, reports that your body needs water to produce gastric juices that aid digestive. Without it, gas, bloating, nausea, poor digestion, and loss of appetite may occur. Drink more water throughout the day for almost immediate health improvements. Establishing good hydration habits now will provide many long-term cellular health benefits. Support your healthy lifestyle by taking all medications on schedule, and save by ordering them from an online pharmacy.
Daily Water Quantity
Water comprises about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body needs a steady supply to operate efficiently and perform the many routine housekeeping tasks that keep you healthy and energetic. But no scientific evidence backs up the well-known theory of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses a day. The Institute of Medicine set the total daily quotas that include all beverages and water-containing foods much higher at 125 ounces for men and 91 for women.
According to Vasey, low-water/high-salt meats, cereals, breads, and dried, processed, and chemical-laced foods contribute to low-grade, chronic dehydration. Animal proteins require much more moisture than they contain to break down, assimilate, and flush from your body. Many processed foods like chips and crackers are nearly devoid of moisture, so they soak up water like dry sponges during digestion. The body requires just 3-5 grams of daily salt, but most people consume 12-15. Copious amounts of liquid are necessary for the body to expel the overload.
For optimal health, hydration, and energy make sure you eat plenty of water-containing foods and drink water throughout the day. When in doubt, more water is better. If you don’t like water, up your fruit and veggie intake with watermelons and cucumbers being the most helpful.
Other Beverages Decrease Water Levels
In principle, your 91- to 125-ounce daily water intake includes morning coffee, soft drink with lunch and glass of wine at dinner. But caffeinated, sweetened, and alcoholic beverages pack chemical cargoes or trigger chemical reactions that demand significant fluid amounts to process and filter them properly. Thus, non-water beverages actually can reduce your water levels and dehydrate your body.
Vasey says that coffee, black tea, and cocoa are very high in purines, toxins you must dilute with large water quantities to flush them from your body. Coffee and sugar create an acidic environment, impeding enzyme function and taxing your kidneys, which must clear the excess acid. Caffeine is a diuretic that increases urine production and elimination. The water in caffeinated beverages barely enters your bloodstream when your kidneys eliminate it. Artificially sweetened drinks add to your body’s toxic burden.
Moderate non-water beverage consumption is fine, but be aware that certain ingredients may siphon away your body’s water stores. When you drink to hydrate, choose water. If you need a pick-me-up, try sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus.
Balancing Additional Necessities
Hydrating requires a delicate balance of minerals, electrolytes, and essential fatty acids for water to hydrate your bloodstream, tissues, and cells properly. You can drink lots of water and still suffer from dehydration on a cellular level, cautions Elson Haas, M.D., an integrated-medicine physician in San Rafael, Calif. Capillaries absorb the water you drink from your digestive tract into your bloodstream, and 95 percent of the water from other beverages and food ends up in your blood. Water needs to enter your cells to maintain optimal health.
How well your body gets water into and out of cells affects your vitality. Unhealthy habits and medical conditions can inhibit your cellular capacity. As you age, your cells dry out gradually. Electrolytes and trace minerals are essential to maintain cellular equilibrium. They help transport water into your cells where they activate enzymes, the basis of every biological process from digestion to hormone secretion to cognition. Without minerals, enzymes get sluggish, and your body suffers. And without essential fatty acids, cells can’t absorb, hold, and stabilize water and other nutrients properly.
Get plenty of minerals by eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Cook with a natural, unrefined sea salt to gain up to 60 trace minerals your body needs to manage water flow. Include whole foods like walnuts and flax seeds that are high in essential fatty acids, which are critical to maintaining healthy cell membranes that can hold in moisture.
Urine Color Significance
The color of your urine indicates your hydration status. Its yellow tint reveals your excreted solid particle quantity from sodium, chloride, nitrogen, and potassium. Color intensity depends of the amount of water your kidneys mix with solids. Less water equals darker urine. More water lightens it.
If your urine is cloudy, dark, or foul smelling, increase your water intake to make it light yellow. Consult your doctor if you don’t see a positive change. You may need to cut back on water if your urine is very clear. This might signal that high fluid amounts are taxing your kidneys and water is over diluting necessary minerals.
Want to Know More?
Watch personal trainer Emily Slats discuss water’s benefits, dehydration myths, and tips on increasing your intake (see video below).