How Much Water Should You Drink?
Do you know that your body is estimated to be up to 60 percent water, the brain is composed of 70 percent water, and the lungs are nearly 90 percent water? Lean muscle tissue contains about 75 percent water by weight, as does the brain, body fat contains 10 percent water, and bone has 22 percent water. About 83 percent of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature.
At least 20 percent of the water that your body needs will come from the food you eat. The rest will come from the beverages you drink. Water is probably the best choice.
Water lubricates your joints and allows them to move freely. The connective tissue around joints needs plenty of water to maintain elasticity and allow ease of movement.
Water is the main ingredient in all of the processes needed to break down, digest, and excrete our food. Water carries nutrients to the cells through the blood. Water helps to extract and distribute the necessary water-soluble vitamins from food such as Vitamins B and C. Chronic dehydration may result in weight gain, poor muscle tone, water retention, and digestive problems such as constipation and kidney stones. For every 25 pounds you exceed your ideal weight, you should increase your water consumption by one 8 oz. glass.
The kidneys constantly filter the blood, concentrating wastes and sending them out in your urine. When there isn’t enough water, your kidneys have to recycle dirty water as they work to remove the wastes from your body. Over time, dehydration may damage your kidneys. When the kidneys don’t have enough water to function well, the liver takes over some of the kidney’s work, decreasing its ability to convert stored fat into energy—which can result in weight gain.
Your heart is 75 percent water. Blood is 85 percent water. Good hydration increases the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. Hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol may all be lowered by an increase in water consumption. During exercise you may experience “cardiac creep” as the blood becomes sluggish due to water loss.
Lung tissues are moistened by water as they take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Allergies and asthmatic symptoms may be a sign of not drinking enough water.
Water is your body’s coolant, regulating your temperature. It helps to ensure that we don’t overheat by releasing heat energy from the body through perspiration and evaporation. Symptoms of heat exhaustion (when your body doesn’t have enough water to regulate body temperature) include excessive perspiration, dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
A three percent weight loss from water results in serious health problems. A 15 percent water loss can result in death. It is recommended that you weigh yourself before and after exercising and note any weight change. I was surprised to see how dramatic that can be and how much water I consumed to replace what was lost.
Your body needs as much water in cold weather as it does in hot weather.
Adults lose 2 to 3 quarts of water every day. That’s 8 to 12 cups. You lose 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water just through the soles of your feet. Another two to four cups are lost from breathing. Perspiration accounts for another 2 to 4 cups. Another6 cups are lost in urine. Dry skin is a common symptom of minor dehydration.
There is no way for the body to store water. When you are dehydrated, your body rations and recycles water. Toxic wastes are dumped into the tissues—fat, joints, and muscle—instead of being eliminated. If you suffer from occasional cramping of legs and feet at night, review your exercise and water consumption for the day.
You Are What You Drink and Eat
You can live without food for a month or more but can only survive for three or four days without water. Water is the solvent that moves the nutrients, hormones, antibodies, and oxygen through your blood stream and lymphatic system. Your two trillion cells are mini-factories producing waste products. Water is necessary to move toxins and wastes out of our bodies. If you are not drinking enough water, your body has to recycle dirty water, and every metabolic function in your body does not work as efficiently as it should.
Ask yourself: How much water am I drinking, not as tea or coffee, fruit or vegetable juices, but as pure H20? Am I eating a variety fruits and vegetable loaded with water?
Statistics are from the U.S. Geological Survey.