|The Importance of Water
Why water? Because anything that makes up approximately 70% of our body has to
be considered important!
Water is, in fact, considered the most critical of all nutrients. For example, water is
vital in regulating our body temperature (through perspiration), in carrying toxic
wastes from the body (through urine) and in maintaining proper blood volume and
pressure (blood is 90% water). Water is also the carrier of oxygen and nutrients to
the cells, and without water our body would not be able to burn calories! In order to
function properly, our muscles must be well "hydrated", as must our joints. Water is
also put to use in respiration and digestion, keeping sensitive membranes functioning
in the exchange of gases. Water also makes possible the breakdown, circulation, and
absorption of nutrients, as well as the excretion of wastes. Water can also ease many
chronic and painful kidney conditions, as well as alleviate constipation.
The average body contains about 45 quarts of water, and a loss of only 15 - 20% of
this is fatal. Water is lost naturally through respiration (about 1/3 quart per day),
through perspiration (about 1 pint per day) , and as urine.
Our daily requirement of water will be affected by our age, activity level, diet, and
the climate. Thirst is the body's way of making sure we get enough water; but thirst
is not an adequate indicator of the amount of water we need. Thirst is too easily
turned off. Never wait until you are thirsty to drink water - a little extra water can't
hurt! Look also towards foods which are high in water content as an additional way
of assuring an adequate intake of water. For example, fruits and vegetables average
80% water, meat is 50% water, and even bread is 30% water weight. The average
adult consumes about 2-1/2 quarts of water a day in foods they eat. You can't get
"too much" water; the body will simply excreter the excess through the kidneys. In
fact, the kidneys must, each day, eliminate at least 10 t 17 ounces in order to rid the
body of metabolic wastes. If we don't get enough water, the kidneys will protect the
body by "holding back". Under certain circumstances our body will even retain
"extra" water, usually in reaction to a medical condition. These include a kidney
malfunction, congestive heart failure, protection deficiency, hormonal imbalance, and
most commonly, excessive sodium in the body.
In high levels of physical activity, the body perspires in response to the cells of the
body working harder, thus creating more metabolic wastes to be eliminated.
In tropical climates, such as the Hawaiian Islands, the body will perspire in response
to controlling the core temperature, thus losing vital amounts of water in extreme
conditions. Always be sure to drink plenty of water to remain hydrated in such
If we have a meal high in sodium (salt, MSG, ACCENT, Soy Sauce), our bodies, in
order to dilute the concentration of sodium to a tolerable level, will retain water.
Thirst is often a function of this; when our blood gets too "salty", our body will draw
water from the salivary glands, which causes a "dry mouth" and thirst. We then
must drink salt-free liquid (water) in order to provide the body with a way to dilute
and carry away the excess sodium.
In order to avoid fluid retention, we must decrease our intake of sodium and chlorine,
and increase our intake of water. The more water you drink, the more water your
body will release. In addition, during weight loss there is an increase in metabolic
wastes. These have the potential of becoming toxic if they are not carried out of the
body. Your goal should be to urinate clearly at least once a day; this generally
indicates all wastes have been carried away.
It is generally accepted that 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day will reduce
fluid retention and improve general health. Water drinking has been implicated in
reducing the frequency of colds and the severity of infections, improving skin quality,
promoting longevity, and contributing to a general feeling of improved health.
Water has an application as an aid in modifying eating behaviors, and bringing about
weight loss. Drinking water before a meal reduces hunger, drinking water during a
meal slows down eating, and helps to fill you up.
So, reach for that glass of water when you feel "hungry"! It works!!!
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