Next to air (oxygen), water is the most essential element to human life; the body usually cannot survive longer than several days without it (a maximum of 1 week). It is essential to the functioning of every single cell and organ system in the human body. Water makes up greater than 2/3 of the weight of the human body; the brain is 75%, blood is 83%, bones are 22%, muscles are 75%, and the lungs are 90% water.
Water is essential many bodily processes including the efficient elimination of waste products through the kidneys and bowels, absorption of nutrients in the intestines, digestion and metabolism, regulating body temperature (through perspiration), and a lubricant and cushion for joints and bones. Because water is so vital, lack of water can be very harmful and I am not just talking about acute dehydration. Chronic dehydration can lead to or be a contributor to long term chronic diseases such as: High blood pressure, Insomnia, Gallstones, Skin Problems, Osteoporosis, Asthma, Allergies, Gout, Hemorrhoids, Diabetes, Lung conditions.
What happens if the body doesn't get enough water?
A decrease of as little as 2% in our body's water supply can have harmful effects and cause symptoms of dehydration, such as daytime fatigue, excess thirst, fuzzy memory, difficulty focusing on tasks and simple math, lightheadedness, and nausea. A reduction of 4-5% in body water can result in a 20-30% decrease in work and exercise performance. A 10% decrease will produce significant health risks. A week without water will surely result in death. An interesting fact--drinking an adequate amount of water will actually decrease your tendency to retain fluids!
How Much Water is Needed Daily?
There is no single amount of water needed. The amount needed depends on the purpose. Generally, 1.5 – 2.0 litres is a good amount for most people. However, exercise, caffeine and alcohol consumption can increase this. When you are increasing the fibre in your diet it is very important to also increase water or you may get that bloated uncomfortable feeling as the fibre sits in your intestines instead of passing through.
Are water filters worth it?
If you can afford a filter it is a great investment as there can be a lot of undesirable chemicals in some water supplies. If it is chlorine and fluoride you are worried about two simple methods I have come across:
Fill a large bucket/container and leave to sit for 24 hours. Since chlorine is a gas, it naturally dissipates over time. By 24 hours, most of the chlorine gas will evaporate off.
Removing fluoride is more complicated than chlorine. The removal process can be precipitated out by adding a calcium salt. Make your calcium salt by crushing 2-4 clean eggshells (do this off hard-boiled eggs) and covering with apple cider vinegar. Then, leave the mixture out for a couple of days. Once dissolved, add a few drops of this solution to your water and it will bind the fluoride. The solution will precipitate most of the fluoride out and if you do drink some it will be inert. If you're interested in the science behind this process, take a look at this study about fluoride removal. We also have some great filters in store so please pop in for more info.
Tips on Drinking Enough Water
Getting the right amount of water has numerous benefits. But if you're having trouble drinking enough, what can you do? Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Start your day off by drinking 1-2 glasses of water every morning with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Carry a water bottle with you -- make sure it is stainless steel or BPA free plastic.
- Drink water before you feel thirsty; if the thirst mechanism is set off, then you are already mildly dehydrated.
- Drink half an hour before and after meals rather than with meals so you do not dilute your digestive enzymes.
For more tips on healthy living, take a look at some of our other articles. Or feel free to stop by and ask us anything.