By Glenn Ellis
(Trice Edney Wire) – When we think about our bodily health, we normally think of exercise and diet. These are important factors, but what may be the most important factor to our health of both mind and body, however, is the amount and quality of water we drink.
What exactly is the importance of drinking water in the grand scheme of things?
Did you know that the human body is made up of 70 percent to 80 percent water? The brain is made of 75 percent water and is home to some important glands that have a direct influence on the organs of the body? Muscles 75 percent, heart 75 percent, bones 22 percent, kidneys 83 percent, lungs 86 percent, eyes 95 percent, and your blood 82 percent. We have about 5 quarts of blood and about 50 to 80 quarts of water.
There are so many health benefits to drinking pure water that it is truly amazing, most people only concentrate on the need to satisfy their thirst. Pure water is also essential for relieving stress and tension in the brain. It has also been proven to help reduce anxiety. As a matter of fact, if you are prone to anxiety attacks, a great solution is to drink a few glasses of clean pure water. Water also sharpens our mental functions. This means that it’s important to drink plenty of water before big tests, interviews, or any other event that will require you to be at the top of your game.
You may be asking yourself now, how much water to drink? The average person should drink about 2-3 quarts of high quality pure water a day. It also depends on your body size, how hot or cold your climate is, humidity, altitude and how much exercise you do. One guide is to take your weight and divide it by half and that will tell you how many ounces to drink. For example, a 200lb person should drink 100 ounces.
When you are considering the effects and importance of drinking water, you should be thinking about the big picture. It is absolutely essential for our digestive system – it could not digest food without plenty of water. Ever had a difficult bowel movement or even a painful one? Chances are it was because of a lack of water.
Bottled water vs tap water is a question many of us have; which kind of water is the better. Usually people want to know if they should drink bottled water, tap water or filter and purify the water that comes out of their tap. It should be noted that a lot of bottled water is tap water that has been filtered and treated.
Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day. Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.
When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
Urine is generally pale yellow to clear when you have sufficient water intake. Dark color or strong smell indicates that you need to drink more water.
Thirst is the most obvious sign that you’re already dehydrated. It is always a good practice to drink more water when you are not thirsty, don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
Adequate and regular water consumption has numerous health benefits. As an added plus, it has no calories, fat, carbohydrates or sugar.
For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated. Sources of water also include foods, such fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes, may be useful for people doing high intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.
Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.
Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible!
The information included in this column is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.
Glenn Ellis, is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist. He is the author of Which Doctor?, and Information is the Best Medicine. A health columnist and radio commentator who lectures, nationally and internationally on health related topics, Ellis is an active media contributor on Health Equity and Medical Ethics.