Monday, October 4, 2010

WATER: Where would we be without it?

Ask any three people you know to name as many essential nutrients as they can, if they mention water, give them a price. 

Our body is estimated to be about 60 to 70 percent water. Blood is mostly water, and our muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water.  Our body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all our organs. Water also transports oxygen to our cells, removes waste, and protects our joints and organs.

Our need for water is so obvious yet it is often taken for granted. Without it our days are limited to about six. If the value of a nutrient is judged by how long we can do without it, water will rank as the most important. A person can only survive only seven to ten days without water, whereas it takes weeks to die from a lack of food.

In general, we need enough water each day to replace the water lost through urination, respiration, and by sweating.  You lose more water when you are active than when you are sedentary.  Symptoms of mild dehydration include chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. A strong smell to your urine, along with a yellow or amber color indicates that you may not be getting enough water. 

HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU NEED TO DRINK- Although  a good percentage of your water need will come from the foods you eat,  the rest of your water need should come from the beverages and juices you drink. Water is the best choice. A good guess is to take your body weight in pounds and divide the number in half. That will give you the number of ounces of water that you need to drink per day.  If you have a high activity level, exercise or drink alcohol you will need to drink more because your daily need for water will be more. The same applies to individuals in dry or hot environments. 

Drinking enough water on busy days may be difficult, an easy way to ensure that you drink enough water on such days is to have water handy at all times.  Spice up the water drinking habit with a bit of lemon or lime for a touch of flavor. This way, you will not get fed up with plain water or get dehydrated.

Finally, let thirst be your best indicator. The truth is that you need water long before you feel thirsty. So get your cup and start drinking!