Commentary: Water is important to our health

Commentary: Water is important to our health
September 21
10:10 2017

By Elisha Covington

Water is essential to all living things. While we can survive as long as six weeks without food, we can only survive about a week without water.

Water is essential to our immunity. Water ushers away toxins and waste from our cells and from the entire body. Water also replenishes the systems that cleanse the body, which are the blood and lymphatic systems, and they are both primarily made of water. The lymph system is filled with fluid that contains antibodies and white blood cells. This system is our source of purification, and it helps keep our bacteria in balance.

Water also regulates our body temperature, lubricates and cushions our eyes, brain, spinal cord as well as our joints and all vital organs.

Most of us know to “drink more water,” but for many, it isn’t always such an easy habit to apply. Our bodies are about 70 percent water, so it is imperative that we have adequate intake to ensure that we are allowing our bodies to bring in nourishment and to carry away toxins. Our bodies cannot do these two things properly without proper hydration.

Dehydration can lead to symptoms like dry mouth, thirst, fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, poor digestion, dry or itchy skin, poor concentration, to name a few. Although many of these symptoms are very common that they could be caused by any number of health conditions, it is still imperative to consume adequate amounts of water daily.

It is common to hear physicians recommend that we drink six to eight glasses of water a day. Some practitioners even recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces. In certain circumstances drinking even more water is necessary, like during pregnancy, before and after exercise, or when fighting off an infection. We each have our own needs, so it is important to determine your own level.

What is an ideal level of water intake? Factor in your body type, size, how active you are, and what climate you live in. Also consider if you require extra liquid intake due to a health condition. But also, if you take certain medications, it could be important not to drink too much liquid. Other determining factors can include how many dehydrating beverages you drink, like caffeine or alcohol.

Clean, fresh water should be free and available to all and having access to quality water can be limited due to resources and location. However when available, try opting for filtered water. Avoid drinking tap water as your main source due to the many contaminants, like chlorine, fluoride and lead. Water is best consumed at room temperature to support a healthy digestive tract. Iced cold beverages shock and disrupt the warm temperatures of the digestive system.

Drinking water can become a habit. Best times of the day that are particularly ideal to drink water include first thing in the morning when you wake up, midmorning, and midafternoon. Take large sips of water every 30 minutes throughout the day and drink a full glass of water at least 30 minutes before eating your meals. Keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day can also encourage you to drink more water. As always, consult with your doctor about what is right for you. Happy hydrating.

Elisha Covington is an avid reader and a mother of a vivacious 6 year old. She’s passionate about how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by their environments.

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