Water – Nature’s Health Drink
By Laura D. Field ~ Jun 17, 2015
The first beverage that I consume in the morning, then throughout the day, is filtered water. Although I love the smell, I am not a coffee drinker, nor do I drink a large glass of orange juice to start my day. Coffee and other common sources of thirst quenchers cannot substitute the value to which water provides our body. One benefit of drinking a fresh glass of water upon waking, is that it will help to normalize our blood pressure and prepare our stomach for the food we will begin to ingest for the day.
Although I personally am an advocate for healthy living, I also believe that people need to enjoy life in order to be completely fulfilled, so I do not critique those who “must” have that first cup of coffee in the morning, or their orange juice with their early morning breakfast.
One thing that many overlook though, is that coffee, tea, fruit juice and soda are not water substitutes, as they do not provide the healthy hydration balance our bodies need. The reason is that these beverages have a great deal of sugar and salt that gets absorbed and later flushed out. Theses substances are addictive and the cause of weight gain, heart issues, along with many other health concerns while not hydrating ones body well.
Water has many benefits that are often overlooked. The values of hydrating our body with water can benefit our need for energy, normal blood pressure levels, skin elasticity, digestive health, and joint flexibility, along with various other health benefits. Some obvious signs of healthy hydration includes a reduction in headaches, irritability, impaired concentration and fatigue, along with healthy and glowing skin, which hydrates your body from the inside out, maintaining ones skin elasticity.
Since our bodies are made of approximately 60-70% water it needs to be replenished throughout the day as it creates the necessary environment to which it sustains life. Throughout the day, the body’s physical processes use up our storage of water through breathing, digestion, and muscle movement. Without replenishing this important element, our bodies begin to show signs of dehydration through various symptoms.
Dehydration, although not the only cause, can lead to an increased risk for obesity. As mentioned previously, many use sugar filled beverages to replenish their need for water within their body. This substitution does not provide the healthy benefits that are necessary for hydration and body metabolism. Simply deciding to drink two 8 oz glasses of water before breakfast, before lunch and dinner, can have a positive effect on ones weight, as it provides a “full-feeling” which helps to prevent the craving for the sugaring substitutes. As we change our drinking habits to include 6-8 glasses of water a day (more if you are physically active) our metabolism will speed up, allowing one to feel full, resulting in our necessary physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Signs of dehydration:
- Headache: as your body uses up the water and essential mineral salts (sodium and potassium), your blood volume drops and reduced oxygen flow to the brain, creating a headache.
- Constipation: Although there are various causes for constipation-related issues, drinking sufficient amounts of water will add the necessary fluid for the waste and toxins to move efficiently through the colon, which can help in the prevention of constipation issues.
- Sudden Lightheadedness when getting up quickly, as the lack of water reduces the blood volume and blood pressure to drop, resulting in dizziness.
- Hunger: Even knowing that you ate plenty, when your body continues to crave food, it is a sign of dehydration. More so if you have eaten sufficient food amounts and crave fruit and other water-based foods.
- Extra Yellow Urine: Dark urine is often the result of your waste not flushing efficiently due to insufficient water intake. Drink some water and you will then notice that your urine will become more clear.
- Fatigue: If not related to disease, insufficient water intake can cause one to feel tired throughout the day. Without sufficient water, your blood pressure drops, reducing the amount of oxygen your body needs for muscle and nerve function, reducing our energy stores.
- Insufficient Sweat: During exercise or physical work, our bodies begin to sweat due to the water within our body. This is a positive response to our system working well in providing a cooling mechanism to cool down. Yet, if your body does not sweat, it is a sign that you are dehydrated, which can cause one to quickly overheat.
- Dry Mouth: Some medications can cause one to have excessive thirst, but under normal health conditions, a dry mouth is a reminder to grab a glass of water to replenish your water stores.
- Muscle Cramps: These cramps can be quite painful. When ones electrolyte and water balance is off, muscle contractions occur. Keeping hydrated allows your body to repair itself and prevent the spasms. Yet, it is still essential to drink plenty of water when exercising or doing physically demanding work.
- Sagging Skin: A sure tell-tale sign that you are dehydrated is when you pinch the skin on your hand, and you see that it does not quickly bounce back to its normal position. I can tell if I’m dehydrated by looking at my hands. When I am plenty hydrated, my hands look smooth, yet when I am dehydrated, my hands look a little wrinkled.
Facts about water and human life:
- The human body is made up of approximately 60-70% water
- The blood that flows through our system is approximately 92% water
- The brain and muscles combined are made up of 75% water
- Bones contain about 22% water
With those facts, it is evident that our immune system and ability to function depends greatly on healthy water consumption to replenish our water stores. Although one can go without food for about a month, survival of the human body can only sustain itself for approximately a week without proper drinking water.
To keep our hearts healthy it is essential to keep our body hydrated. As our bodies become dehydrated, the blood becomes thick, causing blood flow restriction, which results in ones blood pressure becoming elevated (high blood pressure) as well as raise ones blood cholesterol. As plaque builds within the arteries, the supply of oxygen-rich blood to reach your heart is diminished, as it narrows its pathway, reducing the blood flow to the heart muscle. High blood pressure and cholesterol are the body’s response as it tries to prevent water loss from the cells, which can further increase ones risk of coronary heart disease.
“Being overweight or obese isn’t a cosmetic problem. These conditions greatly raise your risk for other health problems.” (HIM, 2015) This is not to insult those who do not have an “ideal” waistline, as there are many body types that prevent some from having that hour-glass form. But, what this does imply is that ones body mass index (BMI) can potentially have an impact on ones risk for heart disease and other health related diseases.
Of course there is no promise that simply adding 8 glasses of water to your daily diet will cause one to lose weight, but combined with a healthy lifestyle of choosing exercise over the couch, using water to replace soda’s and other high sugar drinks, along with healthy foods and portion control, one can certainly make a difference in ones overall weight and health. I know that this can be done from personal experience.
So many are opting for the expensive detox plans, as a method to jumpstart weight loss or improve ones internal body functions. Did you realize that by drinking plain, filtered water will naturally help remove the toxins out through the lymphatic system, intestines and kidneys, reducing the need for this type of unnecessary and dangerous treatment? Eating healthy, whole foods with sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables along with a healthy amount of water, will provide your body the natural means of detoxing without the dangerous side effects that the detox programs have.
Do you decide on tap water, bottled water, or filtered water? Personally I find filtering my water to be the most economical, with bottled water as my 2nd option. I used to enjoy well water, but it has been a long time since I have had access to that source of hydration. The idea of drinking water, without all the sugar, chemicals and additives, is to replace what we use in making our bodies function well. Our bodies were not designed to be super-charged with sugar and additives.
If you are not one to enjoy plain water, consider adding sliced lemon, cucumbers, limes or in combination to your water. Another option might be to take a fresh orange and squeeze the juice into your water for natural flavoring. Sure it has sugar, but natural sugar from fruit is far healthier than unnatural sources. Powder options that I have found to be free of sugar and artificial sweeteners, are electrolyte replenishers that you can add to your water are either Ultima and Vitalyte. You can purchase these in individual packets for hiking, camping, fishing and bike riding, with the most economical option of purchasing in their containers with serving size scoops you add to your water.
Be cautious of energy drinks and Gatorade products which are made with artificial colors and flavorings. Basically if it is made by the companies who manufacture carbonated soda’s, you will find that their energy drinks contain substances that are not healthy for regaining a hydration balance.
Stay healthy, stay hydrated….
Laura – Blogger and paid Freelance writer
- Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
- Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com
- Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com
NOTE: I am not recommending the Ultima or Vitalyte products due to any form of compensation, but rather as a result of personal research, use and satisfaction.
- Allen, Nasa.gov, Follow the Water. Retrieved June 17th, 2015 from www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/everydaylife/jamestown-water-fs.html
- Borelli, April 2015. Medical Daily Pulse. Retrieved June 17, 2015 from http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/lack-drinking-water-deteriorates-human-body-adverse-effects-dehydration-329640
- Colquhoun, J., FoodMatters.TV. 10 Signs You Need More Hydration. April 9, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2015 from www.foodmatters.tv/content/10-signs-you-need-more-hydration
- Helmenstine, PhD. About Education. How Much of Your Body is Water. Retrieved June 17, 2015 from http://chemistry.about.com/od/waterchemistry/f/How-Much-Of-Your-Body-Is-Water.htm
- The Water Information Source. Retrieved June 17, 2015 from http://www.waterinfo.org/resources/water-facts
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What Are the Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity? Retrieved June 17, 2015 from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/risks
- Weil, Healthy Aging, 6 Reasons to Drink More Water. Retrieved June 17, 2015 from www.drweil.com/drw/u/TIP05594/6-Reasons-toDrink-More-Water.html