Why Is Water So Essential?
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Water is a fundamental part of our lives. It is easy to forget how completely we depend on it. Human survival is dependent on water — water has been ranked by experts as second only to oxygen as essential for life. The average adult body is 55 to 75% water. 2/3 of your body weight is water (40 to 50 quarts). A human embryo is more than 80% water. A newborn baby is 74% water. Everyday your body must replace 2 1/2 quarts of water. The water you drink literally becomes you! Since such a large percentage of our bodies is water, water must obviously figure heavily in how our bodies function. We need lots of fresh water to stay healthy.
Aside from aiding in digestion and absorption of food, water regulates body temperature and blood circulation, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, and removes toxins and other wastes. This “body water” also cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Conversely, lack of water (dehydration) can be the cause of many ailments. Chronic dehydration may cause certain problems for the body, including hypertension, asthma, allergies, and migraine headaches. Every process in our body occurs in a water medium. We can exist without food for 2 months or more, but we can only survive for a few days without water.
Most people don’t drink enough water. The body responds to this water deficiency in a variety of ways, which we frequently see as illnesses. Ongoing dehydration may cause actual disease as the body struggles to maintain itself with insufficient water.
Although water covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, only 1% of the Earth’s water is available as a source of drinking water. Unfortunately, Americans are finding that our limited supplies are often polluted with contaminants.
Water is the medium for various enzymatic & chemical reactions in the body. It moves nutrients, hormones, antibodies, & oxygen through the blood stream & lymphatic system. The proteins & enzymes of the body function more efficiently in solutions of lower viscosity. Water is the solvent of the body & it regulates all functions, including the activity of everything it dissolves & circulates.
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Water and Weight Loss
Among its other benefits, water plays a major part in weight loss. Since water contains no calories, it can serve as an appetite suppressant, and helps the body metabolize stored fat; it may possibly be one of the most significant factors in losing weight.
Make no mistake about it: “water is the single most important nutrient you take in every day”.
It’s fat -free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and completely without calories.” Also, drinking more water helps to reduce water retention by stimulating your kidneys. Studies have recommended that if you are overweight according to average height and weight comparison charts, you should add one glass of water to your daily requirement (of eight glasses) for every 25 pounds over your recommended weight.
Dehydration leads to excess body fat, poor muscle tone & size, decreased digestive efficiency & organ function, increased toxicity, joint & muscle soreness, & water retention. Water works to keep muscles and skin toned.
The digestion of solid foods depends on the presence of copious amounts of water. Acids & enzymes in the stomach break the food down into a homogenized fluid state which can pass into the intestine for the next phase of digestion. An “acid stomach” will respond to hydration.
Constipation is a frequent symptom of dehydration. Increased water, along with increased fiber, will usually totally eliminate a problem.
Gastritis, duodenitis, pain from ulcers (as long as the ulcer is not perforated), & heartburn all decrease with increased water intake. Water eliminates toxins & waste from the body.
When the body is dehydrated, a form of rationing & distribution goes into play to ration the available water. Since the body has no reserve system, it operates a priority distribution system for the amount that has been made available by intake. Adults lose nearly 6 pints (12 cups) of water every day. We lose 1/2 cup to 1 cup a day from the soles of our feet. Another 2 to 4 cups is lost from breathing. Perspiration accounts for another 2 cups. Another 3 pints (6 cups) are lost in urine. The body’s signals of dehydration are frequently joint pain, stomach pain & ulcers, back pain, low energy, mental confusion & disorientation. Numerous disease symptoms respond to increased water intake.
The Thirst Reflex
The “dry mouth” signal is the last outward sign of extreme dehydration. As our bodies try to adjust to being deprived of water, our thirst mechanism becomes disabled. The only time we receive the “dry mouth” signal is as the last outward sign of extreme dehydration. In addition, the thirst sensation gradually decreases with age. The result is increasing dehydration. As we start to give our bodies more water, the thirst mechanism begins to work again, but doesn’t become fully apparent until our bodies are fully hydrated. When we are getting sufficient water, we’re often thirsty.
We even need water to breathe! As we take in oxygen & excrete CO2, our lungs must be moistened by water. We lose about 1 to 2 pints of water each day just exhaling.
Asthma is frequently relieved when water intake is increased. Histamine plays a key role in regulating the way the body uses & distributes water & helps control the body’