Last week I promised some health tips. I figured I would start with the easiest, yet one of the most neglected. Water. Our bodies lose water composition slowly over the years. When we are born, our bodies are about 75% water. It then decreases…..young kids have about 65% water composition….adult males have about 60% and females about 55%. Let’s look a further breakdown. The brain tissue is over 80% water, our muscles are 85% water, the liver is 82% water (imagine what the liver does when it gets alcohol instead), and bones are about 20% water. Water is so important that a mere 5% drop can cause 25-30% loss of energy. Think of it as a computer shutting down. This is why we can go quite a long time without food, but not very long without water! A 15% drop in water can cause death. Read that again.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of physiological problems. Health problems linked to dehydration: allergies, asthma, fatigue, headaches, depression, heartburn, arthritis, back pain, hypertension, kidney damage, high cholesterol, diabetes, muscle pain, different cancers. When the body becomes dehydrated, it undergoes much of the same symptoms as it would under stress. I won’t get complicated with the hormonal responses that trigger during stress, but to simplify it, some of our capillaries constrict to force water into our cells. If your body cannot get the water, or it feels it is running low so to speak, it fights for you (our bodies are crazy smart), but to do this, it has to retain more salt. High blood pressure is just one result of the body adapting to dehydration! If you wait until you “feel” thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Our bodies will instinctively let us know if it gets to that point, but ideally, you are keeping that response at bay by drinking throughout the day.
The easy rule of thumb for the quantity of water consumption is half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 pounds, then you need 75 ounces of water. If you weigh 200 pounds, you need 100 ounces of water. That is some good math for a DJ! 64 ounces is a good goal, but I drink more. We will get in to water QUALITY in a different post. For now, just aim for a great amount of water. No, tea doesn’t count as water. And do everything you can to stay away from sodas, INCLUDING diet drinks. I will do another post on sugar and artificial sweeteners (the devil).
It is safe to say that about 75% of Americans are dehydrated. It is an easy fix. You can come up with any excuse you want (my favorite is “I don’t like the taste of water”. Stop that) I do believe in good quality water, filtered at minimum…alkaline even better ( for another post!). Until then, get in the habit of drinking more water. Your body needs it and will thank you for it.
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