Plenty of pure, fresh, clean water keeps you healthy - along with a balanced diet, exercise, and enough sleep!
Drinking eight to ten glasses of water every day will help your body function at its best and create and extraordinary sense of wellness. If you haven't been a good water drinker, now is the time to start.
If you are already in the habit of drinking your 10+ glasses day, then you are used to enjoying the benefit of feeling good. Make an opportunity to share this simple habit wit a friend. It is one of the nicest things you can do for someone you care about it.
Tap, Bottled or Filtered?
Should you drink tap, bottled, or filtered water? Tap water may contain a variety of contaminants - plus the taste of chlorine may make it difficult to drink 10 glasses a day. Over 2,100 contaminants have been identified in U.S. drinking water, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) only regulates 89!
Contaminants of health concern which may be in your water are lead, volatile organic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, parasites, and disinfection by-products.
Bottles water usually tastes better than tap, but you can't always be sure of its quality. Bottled water may be tap water without the chlorine.
A good water treatment device is the best choice. Check with NSF International (1-800-NSF-MARK or http://www.nsf.org) for a listing of different manufacturers and to find out what contaminants are reduce by the various filters.
Water vs Other Beverages
There is no substitute for drinking just plain water. Other beverages contain water, but hove to be metabolized before the water can use the water.
Coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas, and alcohol tend to counteract the positive effects of the water they contain. These drinks dehydrate the body, resulting in headaches, fatigue, indigestion, and dry skin. For every cup of coffee or cola you drink, have an extra glass of water.
You can lose your taste for water when you drink coffee, soft drinks, and juices. You also may be taking in too much sugar or sodium when you drink juices and sugared soft drinks in place of water. When you begin drinking enough water and your body is well-hydrated, your desire for other beverages will probably decrease.
Drink More When You Are Active
Water contributes to good muscle tone and hydration is vital to maintaining good athletic performance. Athletes need to replace the weight lost in water - pound per pound. Weight yourself before and after working out, and drink two glasses for every pound you've lost.
If you are an active, athletic person and weight 160 pounds, you need 13 to 14 (8-ounce) glasses a day or 2/3 ounce per pound. The more you exercise, the more water you need. You should drink before and during exercise, as well as after to allow your body to recover.
If you are exercising in hot weather, be sure to drink a cup of water every 15 minutes to replace the water you are losing. Overexertion can short-circuit your thermostat, slowing your circulation and perspiration, which can lead to heart exhaustion or a heat stroke.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
You need to drink eight to ten (eight-ounce) glasses of water to replace the two to three quarts your body loses every day. That's is one half-ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Drink this much in addition to other beverages. Spread out your water intake throughout the day with not more than four glasses in an hour.
When you feel that you are coming down with a viral infection such as the flu or a cold, increase your water intake to a glass every half hour.
You may be able to avoid getting sick - or at least lessen your symptoms- by flushing your body.
Your Thirst Reflex
Your thirst reflex is generally not a good indicator of dehydration. By the time you are feeling thirsty, you should have been drinking water hours ago.
The thirst reflex also decreases as you age. Common symptoms of dehydration in the elderly are mental confusion and listlessness. If you are caring for the elderly, be sure to offer them water throughout the day.
When you are fully hydrated, your thirst reflex kicks in and you will continually crave more water.
Children Need Water Too!
Little bodies need proportionally as much water as adults, especially since they are growing. Children can easily become dehydrated. They play hard and may forget to drink water.
Children lose their taste for water when they drink mainly sodas, juice, and milk. Children will learn to ask for water when they are thirsty if you offer it instead of juice or soft drinks.
Juice should be given to children in moderation since extra juice adds unneeded calories and may displace healthy foods, possibly resulting in obesity or reduced growth.
Drink for Two
When you are pregnant, you are not only eating for two, but you should be drinking for two! Over 60% of your weight gain at term is water. Water carries nutrients to your baby through the blood. The amniotic fluid totally replenish itself eight times each day.
If you are retaining water, increase your water intake to flush fluids from your body and reduce swelling. Ample water also dilutes your urine, reducing your risk of bladder infection which are quite common during pregnancy.
Dehydration interferes with your body's ability to rid itself of waste products and can actually threaten your health and your baby's health. Morning sickness may be a signal that you are not drinking enough water. During the third trimester, dehydration can trigger contractions which can bring about preterm labor.
Remember to keep drinking plenty of water while you are nursing, so that you will have a plentiful milk supply.
Your bones are 22% water, and your muscles are 75% water. Water lubricates your joints and allows them to move freely. The connective tissue around your joints needs plenty of water to maintain its elasticity and allow easy of movement.
When your joints are dehydrated, there is more friction during movement, which can deteriorate the joints and cause pain.
Arthritic pain may be relieved by increasing the amount of water you drink.
In order to move, the vertebrae in your back depend on the hydraulic properties of water. The water stored in the spinal disc core supports 75% of your upper body weight. 25% is supported by the fibrous material around the disc.
Back pain is a common symptom of dehydration. Drinking plenty of water will frequently decrease back pain. Water also washes the harmful wastes from the muscle tissue - the actual cause of pain associated with dehydration.
Your kidneys are constantly filtering your blood, concentrating the wastes, and sending them out in your urine. When there is not enough water, your kidneys have to recycle dirty water as they work to remove the wastes from your body. Over time, dehydration may damage your kidneys.
When the kidneys don't have enough water to function well, the liver takes over some of the kidney's work, decreasing its ability to convert stored fat into energy- which can result in weight gain.
If you are prone go kidney stones, drinking more water dilutes your urine, which lessen the likelihood that calcium will clump together to form deposits.
Ad you drink more water, your bladder becomes hypersensitive and you will be making frequent trips to the bathroom. As your body adjusts, you will urinate less often and in larger amounts.
Your Digestive System
Food needs water to properly digest. Water carries the nutrients to the cell through the blood. Increasing your water intake tends to reduce the symptoms of heartburn, acid stomach, gastritis, and constipation.
Chronic dehydration may result in weight gain, poor muscle tone and size, and water retention.
Water is essential to any successful weight lose program. Water is fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and has no calories. It can help keep your hunger under control.
For every 25 pounds you exceed your ideal weight, increase your water consumption by one eight-ounce glass. If you are trying to lose weight, try drinking two glasses of water one-half hour before a meal. Drink more water an hour or two after eating to complete your digestion.
Your brain is about 90% water. Water is an important key to concentration. When your body is well hydrated, you will notice an increase clarity in thinking.
With less water, the level of energy generation in your brain tissue is decreased. Headaches, depression, fatigue, and memory loss are frequent symptoms of dehydration.
Prolonged brain tissue dehydration may contribute to mental disorder, Alzheimer's decease, and multiple sclerosis.
Your heart is 75% water and your blood is 85% water. Good hydration increases the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.
Hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, and cholesterol may all be lowered by an increase in water consumption.
Water is your body's coolant, regulating your temperature through perspiration. Sweating keeps you from overheating- especially during exercise and hot weather.
You can have heat exhaustion when your body doesn't have enough water to regulate your body temperature. Symptoms include excessive perspiration, dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Heat exhaustion can lead to a heatstroke- which can be fatal.
As little as 3% weight loss from water results in serious health problems. 15% water loss can result in death.
Also remember that your body needs as much water in cold weather as it does in hot weather.