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What You Need To Know About Water

Water is great medicine, needed to maintain a healthy body, a clear mind, and a good balance within your tissues. There's more water in your body than anything else, with every cell containing mostly water. About 60-70 percent of your body is water, and you must constantly replenish the supply, as it's used up in the processes of life. It is true, many people fail to drink enough of it.

When you don't have enough water in your body, your cells start to draw water from the bloodstream. The blood gets sludgy, your heart has to work harder, and your body starts to redirect blood away from less vital areas. Dehydration can set in even before you start to feel thirsty. This is a great strain on the body because it impairs the kidneys in their vital function of purifying the blood and helping the body get rid of toxins.

If you've lost just 2 percent of your body weight in water, your brain power and performance level may start to weaken. It can cause a headache. Another 4 to 7 percent may leave you feeling dizzy.

Do We Really Need Eight Glasses of Water a Day?

Traditionally, we are often told that we all need to drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Another rule is for every 50 pounds of body weight, you should drink one quart of spring or filtered water per day. This would increase daily water intake to 12 to 16 glasses for many.

I have always questioned this advise... Where did they come up with these amounts?

In the book of Ezekiel, God instructed the prophet Ezekiel to drink only 1/6 of a hin a day.Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. Ezekiel 4:11 This is equivalent to less than 4 cups of water a day (a hin is about 5 quarts) or according to one Bible expert, Matthew Henry, a sixth part of a hin of water was only half a pint, about eight ounces.

God placed him on a fast of bread and water for 390 days. It was during a time of great famine in the land, but there was plenty of water as he was next to a river. God was trying to use him as an example that we need to live sparingly (and not in the carnal flesh) during this time of calamity. We must also note his physical conditions, as he was also told to lie on his side, a sedentary condition. Physical activity and environmental factors (heat, low humidity, etc.) will increase our need for water.

This was the minimum he could live on for this prolonged period of time in his circumstances and we should take those in consideration. I just think it is of interesting contrast to the popular recommendations of the world today.

Urine Color

A few professionals will recommend you drink according to the color of your urine. As long as you are not taking riboflavin (vitamin B2), which fluoresces and turns your urine bright yellow (it is also in most multi-vitamins), then your urine should be a very light-colored yellow. If it is a deep yellow then you are likely not drinking enough water. Many of us do take Vitamin B-2, so this idea won't work.

A few other people are also rejecting the "conventional wisdom" that people need to drink eight glasses of water a day and concluded that on a daily basis people get enough water from normal drinking behavior, such as drinking beverages at meals and in other social situations, and by letting their thirst guide them.

I am not at all saying that getting enough water isn’t important. We can exist without food for months, but without water we can only survive for a few days. Your body is made up mostly of water, which:

  • Is essential for digestion, nutrient absorption and elimination preventing constipation)
  • Aids circulation
  • Helps control the body's temperature
  • Lubricates and cushions joints
  • Keeps the skin healthy
  • Helps remove toxins from your body

Every day you lose water from the body through breathing, urine and perspiration, and this fluid needs to be replenished. However, your body has come equipped with a mechanism that tells you when you need to replenish your supply--it’s called thirst!

Let Your Thirst be Your Guide

When your body begins to lose from 1 to 2 percent of its total water, your thirst mechanism lets you know that it’s time to drink some water (NOT soda, coffee, juice or other beverage which actually increase your need for more water). If you are healthy, then drinking pure water whenever you feel thirsty should be an adequate guide of how much water you need. You can confirm whether you are drinking enough water by looking at the color of your urine, as mentioned above.

Of course, if it’s hot outside or you are engaged in exercise or other vigorous activity, you will require more water than normal so be sure to stay well hydrated in these cases. You will probably note that your thirst increases as well at these times. However, as we grow older our thirst mechanism works less efficiently so older adults will want to be sure to drink water regularly.

So How Much is Enough?

There can be too much of a good thing. Drinking water to excess leads to water intoxication, referred to as hyponatremia. As you consume water, blood plasma increases and dilutes the salt content of the blood. While this is happening, you lose more salt by sweating. Consequently, the amount of salt available to the body tissues decreases and over time, the loss interferes with brain, heart and muscle functions. Water intoxication is more commonly found in endurance athletes.

The standard recommendation is to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses a day. I'm just not sure most people need to drink that much down, but do try to drink as much as you can, and more than you think you need. When you're exercising, you do need even more water because you're sweating and losing water through deep breathing. Of course, warm temperatures and even high winds also increase water loss. Just walking for an hour on a warm day may increase your requirement by two glasses or more. An hour of tennis could require anywhere from two to ten extra glasses.

A kidney expert and professor at Dartmouth University looked into the same question (8 glasses a day?) I did and I found this article to be very interesting!

Water Quality

In addition to how much water should we be drinking, we should also determine what type of water should we be drinking? The answer is clean, spring or well water and filtered water. I do not recommend drinking tap water or distilled water. I also recommend to avoid fluoride which is often added to city tap water.

I do not recommend distilled water because all of the minerals that are supposed to be provided through our water are removed. Well water, spring water and even rain water provides minerals from the earth that we need in our bodies. Genesis tells us we were made from the dust of the earth and virtually all of the minerals found in the earth (almost 80 of them) are also found in the human body. Interestingly, the minerals are also found in similar proportions!

It is important that you ensure the safety of your tap or well water. This will help you to determine what type of filter you need to make sure your water is free from heavy metals, bacteria and other harmful contaminants.

Filtering your own water is important is because we want to avoid bottled water unless it is absolutely necessary as it is a huge strain on the environment. Plus, some bottled water may not be any better than tap water. On a side note, remember to avoid storing your water in typical Nalgene bottle as they can leach an unsafe chemical called BPA into your water. Look for the high-density polyethelene (HDPE) Nalgene bottles, which appear to be safer, to store water or use glass.

For more information about this topic, you may go to this report from the National Academic Press, http://www.nap.edu/books/0309091691/html/

For more information on the safety of plastics see www.plasticsinfo.org/ or plastics.americanchemistry.com/

This is a controversial subject, some articles will try to tell you that some of these plastics do leach some chemicals into the food and water, but they are SAFE (?) at the levels consumed.

"Consumer Reports says their testing found minute leaching of BPA from polycarbonate water bottles, followed by an allegation of "health effects… in developing fetuses, judging from animal research."

* The levels of BPA cited in the article are extremely low. At 11 ppb - the highest value cited - a consumer would have to drink almost seventeen 5-gallon bottles of water a day for an entire lifetime to be exposed to the level of bisphenol-A that the U. S. Food and Drug Administration has set as safe (which incorporates an additional 1,000-fold safety factor).

* The potential for health effects from extremely low doses of any substance is controversial and unproven. The Consumer Reports article also fails to mention that the hypothesis that BPA could pose any risk to developing laboratory animal fetuses at low doses is highly controversial and unproven. In fact, the overwhelming weight of the evidence shows just the opposite."

If this were the only chemical foreign to the human body that we were consuming, I agree, it MAY not be significant enough to cause a problem. BUT, in today's society, we are bombarded daily with so many (literally thousands of them) foreign chemicals that we need to start taking an active stance to control the amount we are exposed to or there will be serious health consequences in our health. Every chemical that is foreign to the body must be dealt with by the immune system, liver, kidneys and this does cause a stress.

So... How Much is Enough?

I think it depends on your body size, diet, lifestyle, climate, probably even genetics to some extent... probably ranging anywhere from 4 glasses to a gallon or even more!