Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Image of lady drinking water at gymAre you dehydrated?
Not drinking enough water can have adverse effects on your health. The following article will help you determine your hydration needs.

To Your Health
July, 2012 (Vol. 06, Issue 07)

Water, Water Everywhere – But Are You Drinking Enough?

By Ben Benjamin, PhD and Lois Orth-Zitoli

Image of lady on beachWater is second only to air in importance for life. We can survive many days or even weeks without food, but we can only survive a few days without water.

Getting your daily requirement of water helps your organs function, keeps your skin clear and hydrated, and supports the body’s digestion, assimilation of nutrients and elimination of toxins. It also makes your body less vulnerable to injury. When the heat of summer descends, it’s a good time to remind ourselves to increase our water intake to compensate for more water lost through physical activity and time spent in the sun.

Did you know that 60-75 percent of your total body weight is water? Most people know that the blood, lymph, urine, sweat and tears are mostly water. However, many of us do not realize that the lungs are 90 percent water; the brain 76 percent water. Even the bones are 25 percent water. Sixty-seven percent of the water in the body is inside the cell. The other 33 percent is outside the cells in the extracellular fluid. This fluid surrounds the cells and is found in the blood, lymph, spinal fluid and joint spaces.

Water has many functions in the body. It is the medium by which nutrients are delivered to tissues and unwanted waste is carried away. It is also the medium in which all chemical reactions take place within the cells, and therefore, greatly influences cell function. Water also serves as a cushion and lubricant for our spine and other joints.

Most individuals lose between 10 and 16 cups of water per day. This loss is in sweat, urine, feces, in the air we exhale, and via direct evaporation from our skin. During exercise in a warm climate, as much as 8 cups of water can be lost in one hour. The loss of body water through urination is greatly increased by the ingestion of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. These drinks have a diuretic effect, meaning they stimulate the kidneys to excrete more urine. Not only do we lose more water, we also lose water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and other B complex vitamins. There is also increased excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride and zinc.

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