This is an update to my first post from August of 2012
Most people do not drink enough water but believe that they are. Somewhere along the line we have lost our roots. We have forgotten that we are born from water and need to replenish our supply every day.
Water is one of the most important nutrients in our body, and, so often forgotten. Our body is about 75% water and our brain 85%. EVERY cell in our body needs water, we won’t survive without it. So why don’t we drink enough? A common misbelief is that if we drink something we are hydrating. Usually the fluids that are covered in this thinking are coffee, soda, tea, sports drinks etc. These do not hydrate the body! In fact, most contain caffeine which actually stimulates you to release fluids from your body. They also contain sugar…not a great combination.
How we lose fluids daily: breathing, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, sweat, urine and feces. This creates a cycle of dehydration, if you are not replenishing. When you become dehydrated your body fluids become concentrated and water is taken out of your cells and they shrink. This concentration of fluids can lead to high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, strokes, edema and many other health conditions.
The functions of water: one of the most important functions is to clear toxic wastes from the body. If you are not drinking enough water, the toxins accumulate and can cause inflammation which in turn can cause a disease state. Water is a source of energy, it generates electrical energy inside your cells and helps to either heat or cool your body, it helps prevent DNA damage, it helps to break down food because it is a major solvent in the body, it helps reduce fatigue, it even helps to combat cancer by bringing oxygen into your body. There are so many other beneficial tasks that water does; we should be drinking a minimum of 8-10 cups of water (64-80 oz). That is just to replace what you have lost through your daily metabolic activities like breathing and clearing out cellular debris. If you are outside sweating, you need to be drinking more! In fact, half your body weight is what you are striving for EVERY DAY!
How to tell if are dehydrated: Most people believe that dry mouth is a good indicator of dehydration. The fact is that this is one of the last indicators of dehydration and this perception decreases as we age. By this time body fluids are already becoming concentrated and energy production decreases. A better indicator is the color of your urine. A well hydrated person has colorless urine.
Other indications of dehydration: fatigue, irritable, anxious, depressed, not sleeping well, cravings, these signs can be masked by the use of medications.
If you have children, please keep in mind that because of their rapid growth and cell division they are using up a great deal of water and are naturally dehydrated. They need special attention and you need to ensure that they are drinking enough water to meet their needs. Some signs that your child is not getting enough water: difficulty learning, less alert, decreased attention span and asthma and allergies increase.
How do we get enough water?
If your water intake is not sufficient, the body will reuse as much water as possible. The water is reclaimed in the large intestine and motility of the feces becomes slower and you become constipated. Water is lubricating and when you add fiber; increases motility.
The best way to combat dehydration is to avoid beverages that dehydrate (mentioned above) and make sure that you drink half your body weight in water each day.
Source: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty! Water for Health, for Healing, for Life; F. Batmanghelidj MD