Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stay Hydrated – Water is critical for Body Health

Water is the critical component to overall body health. Failing to keep hydrated will have a negative impact on almost every function of your entire body. Your body is made up of about 75% water. 85 % of our brains are made up of water. Lean muscle tissue is 70% water. 
 Water does not contain a single calorie – yet it is the most important nutrient. Water is necessary for your survival. Water keeps all the cells in your body nourished. Water also conducts electricity – which is the main element to keep your heart pumping. You can survive for a long time without food, but without water you would die in a few days. Water is essential for muscle building. In addition, intense training can put unwanted stress on your joints and connective tissue. 
Water is important to physical performance. A 4% drop in your hydration can lead to a 20% decrease in muscle contractions. Not only will water increase your strength, but it helps to prevent injuries during exercise. Water helps to lubricate the synovial fluid in the joints and forms a protective “cushion” around them. Want some more reasons to drink water? In a University of Washington study, One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term Memory. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%., and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. 
 Dehydration – occurs when the body’s water level drops below that required for adequate circulation and normal body function. Symptoms of dehydration include: face flushes, you stop sweating, skin turns cold, you become weak, dizzy and tired, your muscles cramp and head hurts. 
 Dehydration is the # 1 reason for day time fatigue. Plus, as you age you tend to dry out. 75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated. Many of those mistake dehydration for hunger. If dehydrated, your body will selectively take water from areas that are less important for survival – such as your joints, spinal disks and gums. Dehydration thickens the blood, making it concentrated and results in excess strain on the heart. Not drinking enough liquid reduces blood flow to the digestive system – inducing nausea and discomfort. 
 Do you complain about low-back pain? The disks in your lumbar spine uses water volume as hydraulic support for the weight of the upper body. Dehydrated disks flatten and causes the vertebrae to become in-stable and results in low-back pain. It is important that you do not drink too much water. Although rare, Hyponatremia or Water Intoxication happens when you drink excessive amounts of water which dilutes the salt content in your blood. 
The human body needs about two litres of water per day. A general rule to calculate the amount of water to drink is to divide your weight by 2 which equals the number of ounces of water to drink per day. While exercising, take three to four sips of water every 10 minutes if possible, or five to six swallows every 15 minutes. 
One pet peave I have is the complaints about tap water and the over abundant waste from bottled water. People are being seduced that bottled water is the key to health and well being. Bottled water is not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water in North America. The very high-quality water coming out of our taps is easy on the environment and our pocket books. Canada’s drinking water is strictly regulated for quality. 
 Tap water is disinfected with chlorine to kill bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness and death. The chlorination of drinking water has virtually eliminated typhoid fever, cholera, and many other waterborne diseases from the western world. Tap water may sometimes look or taste differently, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t safe. I keep a jug of tap water in the fridge and refill water bottles regularly. By keeping the bottle in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours any chlorine taste will dissipate. "20/20" took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria, There was no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters evaluated. And in a blind taste test bottled water was not superior than tap water. 
 In The US, tap water is regulated US Environmental Protection Agency, where as bottled water is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. Tap water must be filtered and /or disinfected whereas no requirements are necessary for bottled water. Tap water is tested by certified labs whereas such testing is not required for bottlers. There are strict reporting requirements of test results for tap water – none for bottlers. Disinfectant is not present in bottled water, whereas chlorine is used in tap water to kill bacteria. 
 Did you know it takes 3 litres of fresh water to produce 1 litre of bottled water? Bottled water is a huge cost in wasted resources. The energy cost of producing a plastic bottles from by-products of crude oil, transporting the water and then disposing of the containers in landfill sites make bottled water one of the most wasteful luxuries. 
 It doesn’t matter if you prefer bottled water or tap water, during the hot summer months it is even more important to drink enough water. Before drinking your morning cup of coffee, drink a glass of water to help keep you hydrated. 
 If you haven’t been drinking enough water here’s some benefits you may notice: In 24 hours Energy levels increase by 8 % In 72 hours Blue moods left and sleep improves In one week chronic back pain ends In 2 weeks Joint Pain eases In 3 weeks Peptic ulcers heal. *First Magazine Aug.20, 2007. In the light of the increased hype of 'special' water preparations, it is important to take notice that there are definite and proven health benefits from simply drinking more water. Changing your fluid intake from coffee, tea, sport drinks and alcohol to mineral or tap water will help keep your body running at it peak performance through out the day.

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