Sunday, August 25Health and Fitness

Water – The Essential Ingredient

Water May Be Just What The Doctor Ordered

If you have ever heard me speak or been in my office, chances are I asked you about your daily water consumption.

In today’s world, I am amazed how little water most people consume. Maybe it’s because it is not as flashy as the cool cans and bottles filled with various soft drinks, energy drinks, or even beer. I think we have developed the need for taste, regardless of the benefits of plain water and the horrible effect the other drinks have on our health and longevity.

Think about this, our bodies are made up of about 75 percent water. Doesn’t it make sense to nourish it with the same ingredient? I often think about a well hydrated muscle as a nice red, raw steak. Conversely, I imagine a dehydrated muscle as a piece of tough jerky. If you cherish flexibility and strength, which would you prefer?

What is even more amazing than the water content of an adult, is the water content of a baby. A typical healthy baby is made up of about 90 percent water! Keeping this in mind, think about how healthy they are and how quick they bounce back from illness.

On the contrary, an elderly person only has a body water content as low as 55 percent. Keep this number in mind when an older person is admitted to the hospital and are often told they are dehydrated. Without proper hydration, ill health is the obvious outcome.

Over our lifetime we drop from a 90 percent water makeup to 55 percent. Doesn’t that alone indicate that the younger, healthier person benefits from proper hydration?

What about Chronic Dehydration? 
Chronic dehydration is simply your body using more water than it takes in over time. The signs of dehydration often are misdiagnosed and present to a chiropractor or medical doctor for related symptoms.

As a chiropractor practicing in South Dakota, one would think dehydration cases are far and few between. Believe it or not, dehydration seems to be very prevalent in the colder temperatures. It often seems like people neglect drinking water in the winter or colder climates. Therefor, hot temperatures may contribute to acute dehydration, but the cooler climates appear to be ripe with chronic dehydration. Our office sees numerous headache patients seeking acupuncture or chiropractic. Many of these patients are also dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration include dry skin, bad breath, cramping, fevers, chills, headaches, and even cravings for sugar.

Severe dehydration can cause life threatening problems such as blood clots or seizures.

A couple simple, but accurate, signs of dehydration can be ongoing fatigue or yellow urine. If you are always tired and the color of your urine is not mostly clear, chances are you need to drink more water.

How much water should I drink? 
As I mentioned, keep an eye on urine color and energy level. A good rule of thumb for proper intake of water is 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 150 ounces of water per day. This sounds like a lot, but believe me, it’s not! Shoot, some literature recommends 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight divided by 2. Even that formula is not met by most Americans.

Sometimes, hunger is confused with dehydration. Many people will feel hungry and only need to increase their water uptake. I suggest you drink between a half and a full liter of water prior to all meals. If you are consuming 3-6 liters of water per day, you are probably in the hydration ballpark.

Should I drink tap water? 
Drinking water should be filtered. Many doctors believe you do not need filtered water because your body and kidneys will filter the water you drink. Unfortunately, over time your body will be overloaded with toxins. A proper filtration system should at least remove toxins such as chlorine and chloramine.

Mineral such as calcium and sodium will improve the absorption of water. Recent research has shown ionized water to be even better.

Also, make it a point to drink from a glass bottle instead of a plastic bottle. Plastic will leach into the water and cause issues with estrogen and testosterone levels in men and women.

Another popular type of water is carbonated. Carbonated water is not as easily absorbed by your body. Avoid sugar and preservatives in your water.

Start your day with a short breathing exercise and a liter of water. You will be amazed how your appetite and energy levels improve.

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