Most of us know there are a variety of health benefits of drinking water, but very few people follow the standard six to eight glasses per day recommendation or understand why water is so important.
We can survive about a month without food, but we can only survive a few days without water. The body consists of approximately 70 percent water, or another way of putting it is that 2/3 of the body consists of water. Replenishing that water is essential for every function in the body.
You should not be drinking colas, coffee, tea, soda pop, and alcohol. These are not substances that should be ingested. They are chemicals that destroy your health. Even fruit juice should be avoided because it is a concentrated source of sugar. Frankly, water should be your beverage of choice at all times. Herbal tea is okay, as long it is doesn’t contain caffeine and you don’t have a mold allergy or sensitivity.
Here are just some of the many health benefits of drinking water:
- Regulating the body temperature
- Carrying nutrients and oxygen to all cells in our body
- Protects and cushions vital organs
- Convert food into energy
- Helps our body absorb nutrients
- Removes wastes, toxins, and poisons
- Cushions joints
- Our blood is 92% water
- Our bones are 22% water
- Muscles are 75% water
- Brain is 75% water
- Aids in digestion
- Purifying the blood
- Moistens lungs to assist intake of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide
- Water is a natural appetite suppressant
- Prevents urinary tract infections
- Cleansing of cells
- Flushes alimentary canal
- Aids in carrying nutrients to the blood stream
Since water is so prevalent in every area of our body, we can see why drinking enough water is of the utmost importance.
In a nutshell, the primary health benefits of drinking water are that it helps deliver nutrients to our organs, bones, muscles and cells, aids in functioning of these organs and systems and helps us expel toxins and remove waste materials.
If we don’t replenish our water, organs and systems won’t function adequately and dehydration can occur. It is estimated that 75 percent of the population is dehydrated and unaware. Dehydration can create symptoms such as chronic pains, allergies, dyspepsia (heart burn & indigestion), joint pain, low backache, chest pain, headaches, constipation, crankiness, fatigue, dry skin and fuzzy brain or short-term memory problems.
Some experts feel that even the recommended 6 to 8 glasses per day is not adequate and suggest that we should actually have 1 quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight, or I’ve also heard one eight ounce glass per hour. On the other hand, it has also been suggested that you simply use your thirst as a guide to when you need water
When you’re exercising or if you live in a dry climate and during hot seasons, you will need more water. If you’re working on detoxing your body, you want to drink extra water to keep toxins moving out.
What we often think are hunger pangs can sometimes actually be a signal that we need more water. When you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water and see if your hunger goes away.
An easy way to gauge your water intake is to examine the color of your urine; dark colored urine is an indicator that you aren’t ingesting enough water, unless you’re taking B vitamins. B vitamins will also turn urine a dark yellow color.
Drinking caffeine or alcohol dehydrates the body, so even if you drink adequate amounts of water and have a couple cups of coffee or cola, this will undo the effects of the water, and you need extra water. For each cup of caffeinated beverage you drink, you need to add one cup of water.
Water should be consumed in small amounts spread out over the day. The body can’t process more than one glass of water per hour, therefore if you drink too much at one time, it won’t be used, it will be eliminated.
Not only should we drink six to eight glasses per day to get the optimal health benefits of drinking water, but it’s also vitally important that this water be pure. Clean drinking water is becoming increasingly difficult to find and the ingestion of polluted water is creating havoc on our health.
Our water supply is contaminated with carcinogens and toxins that cause neurological damage. Landfills, chemical spills, and agricultural run-off are leaching toxic chemicals such as: pesticides, arsenic, lead, herbicides, fertilizers, trichlorethylene, benzene, etc. into our water supply. A variety of prescription drugs are also found in drinking water. One of the most toxic components in our water is put there intentionally by the use of chlorination for disinfecting. Chlorinated drinking water makes the gut too alkaline, which encourages overgrowth of Candida and other microbes, causes inflammation, decreases hydrochloric acid level, and kills friendly gut flora.
“Scientific studies have linked chlorine and chlorination by-products to cancer of the bladder, liver, rectum and colon, as well as heart disease, artheroscelrosis, anemia, high blood pressure and allergic reactions. There is also evidence that shows that chlorine can destroy protein in our body and cause adverse effects on skin and hair.” (Kemysts Laboratory, Dr. Riddle, Ph.D.
Not only is the ingestion of toxic water destroying health, but inhalation through the lungs and absorption through our skin of toxic vapors when showering or bathing is just as damaging, if not more so. Warm water opens your pores and allows chemicals to be absorbed into your body.
“A professor of Water Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh claims that exposure to vaporized chemicals in the water supplies through showering, bathing and inhalation is 100 times greater than through drinking water.” (The Nader Report-Troubled Waters on Tap-Center for Study of Responsive Law
“The National Academy of Science estimate that 200 to 1000 people die in the US each year from cancers caused by ingesting the contaminants in the water. The major health threat posed by these pollutants is far more likely to be from their inhalations as air pollutants. The reason that emissions are high is that because water droplets dispersed by the shower head have a larger surface-to value ratio than water streaming into the bath.” (Science News, Vol 130)-Janet Raloff)
Another problem is that your water travels miles through pipes, which are unclean, and the pipes, solder and brass fixtures leach heavy metals into the water.
To protect yourself, don’t drink tap water. Buy yourself a good quality carbon filter or reverse osmosis system or get your water from a water filtration machine that has three levels of treatment; ultraviolet, reverse osmosis, and carbon. You can also purchase a good clean source of bottled water such as Mountain Valley or Gerolsteiner that come in glass containers. Beware of the bottled water in your local grocery store; it sometimes is nothing more than tap water.
If you drink bottled water or store your filtered water, you should always use glass bottles or hard clear plastic made from polyethylene. Don’t use soft plastic with PVC, the ones that have a cloudy look, because this plastic leaches toxic chemicals into the water as well.
At the very least you should have a good quality carbon filter for your drinking water and a carbon or KDF filter on your shower. If it’s at all possible, a whole house filter is best, so that all water you come in contact with is cleaner. You can find a variety of water filters at your local Sears, health food store or Amazon has a big selection at this link.*
Once you obtain a clean source of water, focus on making sure you drink the necessary amount to reap the many health benefits of drinking water. It’s one of the simplest self-care strategies you can practice, but the impact on health is power packed.