everyone knows that water is vital to maintaining our health. Although
we could talk for days about how vital it really is, the first thing
we need to understand is that bar-none WE ARE CHRONICALLY DEHYDRATED!
Chronic dehydration has been linked to a myriad of health problems
and unfortunately it’s only getting worse. Allergies, arthritis,
even Alzheimer’s disease is linked to chronic dehydration.
Our first step (in the line of many) is understanding dehydration
and how much water we need to be drinking daily to maintain our
fragile health. The sad truth is that once these maladies are upon
us it is hard to reverse the damage. The key to a healthy life is
PREVENTION. Maintaining hydration is PREVENTION. We need to do the
daily work now so that we do not succumb so easily to illness later.
Most people think they drink enough
water. Just ask your friends, co-workers, and family. Most likely
they’ll admit they don’t drink TONS, but they’ll
all say, "I drink enough." They are so wrong.
First and foremost we need to understand
what we can’t see. We’ll quickly go to the molecular
level. We all understand that we’re made of cells, right?
Every living thing is made up of cells. And every single cell is
made up of mostly water. Those cells are grouped together with other
cells by what is called "extracellular fluid" which is
also mostly water. Think of a healthy, hydrated person in the molecular
level; their cells are nice and plump like a full pool. An unhealthy,
dehydrated, person would be a half-filled pool. Imagine that "pool"
as your cells. If the cells and the surrounding extracellular fluid
don’t get enough water, then they will eventually be empty
and die. When our cells die, we slowly die.
What exactly is dehydration? Dehydration
occurs when our bodies output of water exceeds our intake. Most
people associate dehydration with heat exhaustion and dry mouth.
What most don’t understand is that those symptoms are the
LAST CRY from your body for water! Most of us are chronically dehydrated
before those symptoms occur. We lose water everyday through urine,
prespiration, feces, and our lungs. Not only are we not replacing
the lost water, we are increasing that excretion by drinking dehydrating
Although most of us are consuming a
significant amount of liquids each day, most of what we’re
drinking is dehydrating us. For example, coffee, tea, carbonated
soda with caffeine, beer, wine, and liquor act as diuretics and
increase the discharge of hydrating liquids such as water, fresh
juice, milk, and non-caffeinated carbonated water (if we’re
drinking these at all.) If we are not replacing what we're losing,
then we are chronically dehydrated. Day after day, month after month,
and year after year of this unknowing stress we're causing our bodies
is what is ultimately giving us health problems. Most Americans
don't understand the simplicity of the cause or the cure.
A significant amount of us don't even
understand why we’re so dehydrated. We think that if it’s
liquid and we’re drinking it we’re hydrating ourselves.
WRONG! Here are a few facts. According to "Water, The Ultimate
Cure", soft drinks account for more than 27 percent of beverage
consumption. The average American consumes more than 54.5 gallons
of soda per year. YIKES. Not only is the sugar intake outrageous,
but the dehydration factor is outrageous. According to the National
Soft Drink website, www.NSDA.org,
for every 16 oz. bottle water consumed Americans drank 64 oz. soda.
To compensate our bodies excretion, double the amount of water is
needed to re-hydrate us. It's hard to imagine that we're taking
on that personal responsibity daily. Most Americans, then, are like
drought-ridden farmland without any irrigation.
How much water should we be drinking?
Rule of thumb: drink half your body weight in ounces. A 160 lb.
person should be drinking 80 oz. of water a day. Remember though
that for every 6 oz. caffeine or alcohol drink consumed you should
drink an additional 10 to 12 oz. water to compensate. It seems like
a lot? Just think of those cells and how they will shrivel up and
die without that water; and remember that when they die, you slowly
Make it easy on yourself. Buy a sturdy
plastic bottle. Have it ready and waiting in your fridge, your car,
your gym bag, at work and drink it continuously throughout your
day. In the long run, your body will thank you.