Water – The Elixir of Life

November 12, 2012

Water – The Elixir of Life

Water is vital for life, we all know that. But what do we know about how it actually sustains life? Your body requires water to replace the water that is expended during everyday activities. This means that water that is sweated out of the body or breathed out of the body or is removed during its waste disposal process must be replaced. We replace this water by drinking or eating foods that are high in liquid content such as some fruits.

Our bodies are on average made up from 60% water. And it is always in need of more water to replenish the cells, organs and tissue that use the water to control our temperature and ensure that our bodies function in a healthy manner.

The amount of water an average person needs each day depends on many things. If your climate is hot and humid then you need more water than someone in a cold dry area, and if you are sedentary you need less water than an active person. Normally people with an illness should take in more water.

Joints, Tissue and Spinal Cord

Water is also required by joints because by having enough fluid present there is a cushioning and lubricating effect required for normal ‘operation’. Your brain will not function at optimum level if the body does not have enough water. A fully hydrated body means that the temperature is fully regulated and you do not feel thirsty. It also means that your blood and bones remain healthy. All tissue needs water to remain moist to ensure that tissue remains healthy. The spinal cord must also have water because water has a protecting effect and ensures that it functions properly.

The Body’s Waste Removal System

The body requires water to carry out the regular waste disposal functions. The kidneys and liver are big users when carrying out their duties of disposing of waste in the blood, but the intestines also use water to help process the waste. By having a fully hydrated body perspiration, urination and defecation can all function in a healthy manner. A dehydrated body can sometimes become constipated and make you sluggish. Water can help bring back regularity and soften the stools. This means that the food passes through your stomach and intestines at a better speed.

Water Aids in Digestion

Saliva has many enzymes present which aid the breakdown of food and liquid which allows the vitamins, minerals and other ingredients to pass into the body. By having enough water in your body you ensure that the saliva is present in suitable quantities and strength to carry out its duties.

If you eat soluble fiber then you must have enough water to let it dissolve and pass through your body. This ensures that you do not become constipated because the fiber, once dissolved, helps the bowel to produce soft stools which pass easily.

Dehydration without water

If, for any reason your body becomes unbalanced and starts excreting more water than it is taking in then you must restore the fluid to normal levels as quickly as possible. This can happen if excessive exercise is being undertaken, or the climate has become very hot and humid or perhaps the body is suffering from a fever or losing too much fluid through sickness or diarrhea. Whatever the reason for the loss of fluid, the body must be rehydrated by taking in more liquid as soon as possible.

In addition, if you have bladder or urinary tract problems your doctor may tell you to drink more water. Nursing mothers may also have to increase their water consumption due to losing extra liquid in the form of breast milk for the baby.

How much does the average person need?

The correct amount of water to take every day is shrouded in mystery, even after many years of research. Some researchers recommend as much as eight large glasses of water a day. Other recommendations over the years have given different advice.

It now appears that the experts are taking the view that it’s an individual thing. Some people drink lots of water and feel fine, others don’t drink so much but are still doing fine. If you are in good condition physically and don’t feel thirsty then you are probably getting enough water everyday just by following your own eating and drinking routine. This view is fully supported by the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One very easy check to carry out to see if you are dehydrated or not is to look at the color of your urine. If it’s dark then you should drink some more as you are probably dehydrated. However if it is light and clear you are fully hydrated.

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