Did you know the human brain is made up of 85 percent water, and our blood consists of nearly 80 percent? It’s no wonder that water is so critical to health. What’s more, water is also a natural cleansing agent. Drinking water is a great way to support the body’s internal, natural detoxification system, as well as enhance effective elimination.
Unfortunately, a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly half of all Americans don’t drink enough water. As a result, they can become partially or fully dehydrated.
Partial dehydration can cause problems like fatigue, fuzzy thinking, dry mouth, and even weight gain. And chronic dehydration can increase the risk of many illnesses. When the body doesn’t have enough water, for example, the blood becomes thicker, which can increase the risk of heart problems. Not drinking enough water can also worsen digestive issues such as constipation, and increase the risk of bladder and colon cancer.
Cellular energy production, detoxification, and other metabolic processes are dependent upon water. This all makes sense because, on average, our bodies are made up of 75 percent water. Our skin, bones, muscles, blood, and immune system require water to function properly. Even our teeth are made up of about 10 percent water. That, plus all of the water contained in saliva, is why dehydration can increase risk of cavities and tooth decay.
The key is to stay hydrated long before you get thirsty—because by the time you feel parched, you’re already dehydrated.
How much water and how often?
To ensure you can keep dehydration at bay and support proper ongoing detoxification, drink water throughout your day rather than just a couple times a day. This keeps your cells, tissues, and organs consistently hydrated. Keep in mind, though, that you may want to limit your water intake during the last few hours of your day so you don’t have to wake up to use the restroom during the night.
The amount of water needed to stay hydrated is determined by consuming half of your body weight in ounces. For example, a 128-pound person needs to drink 64 ounces, or eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. If you weigh 170 pounds, you will need 85 ounces or 10 and a half glasses a day. And if highly active, drink extra water during and after exercise.
Keep in mind that you can also get water from food. Focusing on these moisture-rich foods can definitely help boost your daily water intake and lessen the need to drink so much water.
90% or more water:
Watermelon (water is in its name!)
80% or more water:
Does the container matter?
Almost as important as the quantity of water is the quality of the water you choose. Whenever possible, drink pure, filtered water. The container you drink from is also important. These containers are free of toxic chemicals:
- Stainless steel
- Waxed paper cup
Whenever possible, avoid drinking out of:
- Plastic containers, which contain harmful chemicals
- Styrofoam cups because they also contain hazardous chemicals
No matter which nontoxic container chosen, it’s a good idea to keep it filled throughout the day. That way, you’ll always remember it’s time to drink more water!
Signs of dehydration:
- Foggy memory
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
- Weakened immunity
Even mild dehydration can be problematic, so it’s important to continually replenish those water stores.
Excerpts from Inside Health, Dr. Alschuler and Karolyn A. Gazella, 18, 19.
Inspiration says, “In health and in sickness, pure water is one of Heaven’s choicest blessings. Its proper use promotes health. It is the beverage which God provided to quench the thirst of animals and man. Drunk freely, it helps to supply the necessities of the system, and assists nature to resist disease.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 416.