I once knew a man who died from not drinking water. Apparently it’s called hydrophobia or an aversion to any liquid. It is also a key symptoms of Rabies. My goodness!
After Oxygen there are few things that are as important to our health as much as water. Our body is approximately 60% water and plays a frighteningly important role in our lives. Research is showing that effective water intake is vital to our long term health and quality of life. And intelligently managing your water or liquid intake is probably the most prudent thing you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle free of illness.
How Much Water Do You Really Need
The myth of drinking 8 glasses of water is just that. A myth! Water intake needs vary by individuals. According to the Mayo clinic there is no hard evidence to support this rule. PBS say your water needs depends on your body weight. The rule of thumb they suggest, is divide your weight by half to determine how much water you need. If you weigh 130lbs, then you need 65oz of water. That’s about 7.5 cups of water. And by the way that applies to your total fluid intake, not just water. In this Snopes myth buster article, the average American gets near 8 glasses of fluids in their food, so technically a person could go without any water, although it is not recommended.
According to the European Institute of Hydration “With age, the body loses its ability to detect thirst. Therefore, to stay sufficiently hydrated, elderly people should anticipate the body’s needs and not always wait until they are thirsty to have a drink “. Similarly, pregnant mothers need higher doses of water for a health baby
Reference Value for total water intake (From EIH)
- 0-6 months 680 mL/day (22oz or 2.75 cups) OR
- 100-190 m L/kg/day (3.38oz – 6.42oz or 0.42 – 0.8 cups. From human milk
- 6-12 months 0.8-1.0 L/day. From human milk and complementary foods and beverages
- 1-2 years - 1.1-1.2 L/day (37-40oz or 4.6-5 cups)
- 2-3 years - 1.3 L/day (43oz or 5.3 cups4-8 years - 1.6 L/day (54oz or 6.75 cups)
- 9-13 years – Males - 2.1 L/day (71oz or 8.8 cups)
- 9-13 years – Females - 1.9 L/day (64oz or 8 cups)
- 14-18 years – Males – 2.5 L/day (84oz or 10.5 cups)
- 14-18 years – Females - 2.0 L/day (67oz or 8.45 cups)
- 19-70 years – Males - 2.5 L/day (84oz or 10.5 cups)
- 19-70 years – Females – 2.0 L/day (67oz or 8.45 cups)
- Pregnant women – 2.3 L/day (77oz or 9.62 cups)
- Lactating women -2.7 L/day (91oz or 11.4 cups)
What Type Of Water Should I Drink? Tap Water Or Bottled?
I, for one hate buying those bottles of water. It seem such a tragic waste and environmentally unfriendly. When you consider how good the tap water in the US is compared to that of many third world countries it seems laughable not to drink our tap water. This of course is the endless debate. Should you drink tap water or should you just buy bottle water in a large 5 gallon container or should you install one of those filtration systems?
According to this Readers Digest article the fact of the matter is tap water is significantly better regulated and monitored than bottled water, at least in first world countries. The water filtering craze trades on people’s fears. In fact because of the plastic containers and other processes in the production and packing of bottled water, it might present a significantly higher risk of contamination. Recent studies have shown that PET can release small amounts of the toxic chemical antimony into water. The amounts are well below toxic levels, but leaving a water bottle in the sun inside a car can accelerate the process. So drink tap water. Nothing wrong with it. Or should we take a closer look?
In this CBS article, scientist have found some evidence linking allergies to pollutants from pesticides and purifying chemicals. It suggests that purifying water may strip it of bacteria that may be important in priming our immune systems to recognize and react to more threatening pathogens. There is also the possibility of lead from corroding pipes, chlorine, and Giardia Cryptosooridium according this article..
Where and how water gets processed affects your water quality. According to the LA times different states have different regulations. California for example regulates the levels of the gasoline additive MTBE and the industrial chemicals called perchlorates in their water supply. We also face the very real threat of pharmaceuticals in our drinking water with 41 million Americans exposed to such incidents.
The moral of the story is that no purification is perfect. Each has its faults. The best water is distilled water, but that is devoid of any essential minerals. Tap water is safe up to a point but can be compromised by drug waste and other chemicals. Bottled water which often come from tap water is wasteful and also fraught with contamination from PET in plastics. So which water should we drink? Tap water. Not perfect, but the best alternative. And add a Ceylon Cinnamon stick to your water, a natural anti bacterial.
What is Better, Iced Water or Hot Water?
The legend of cold water is bad for you it not supported by an evidence. At least anything we could find. The theory was that cold water makes all the fat in your body thicken. The fact of the matter is that cold water heats up pretty rapidly in your body and is not going to remain cold for more than a few seconds as your body will heat up the cold water. But cold water tastes better and you will therefore drink more of it, which is a good thing for hydration in general. So forget about hot or cold. It doesn’t matter. Just drink enough water. This Columbia University advice column says “Colder fluids leave the stomach more quickly than warmer ones, allowing faster re-hydration. Cold foods and beverages do not harm any of our internal organs, so we can feel free to enjoy them “.
How Much Is Too Much Water?
You have heard the TV stories right? People dying from drinking too much water. Yes these people drank so much water they developed what is called water intoxication. Apparently when you drink too much water it dilutes all the other nutrients in the body. Sometimes this causes a sodium imbalance which destroys your body cells leading to death. So keep your water consumption to a sensible levels. By all means drink your recommended level of water, adjusting to a higher a level if you are participating in any strenuous physical activity but don’t force yourself to drink more water than necessary as it might upset your sodium balance that may cause other deficits like cramps. And if you are drinking high levels of water, you may need extra salt to keep your sodium levels in balance.
How To Drink Water
Based on what we could find, this is a useful guide to drinking water during the day.
- 1 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs
- 1 glass of water with breakfast
- 1 glass mid-morning
- 1 glass of water with lunch lunch – helps digestion
- 1 glass of water after lunch
- 1 glass of water mid afternoon
- 1 glass of water with an evening meal – helps digestion
- 1 glass of water after the evening meal
- 1 glass of water before going to bed – helps prevent stroke or heart attack
Also taking 1 glass of water before a bath may help lower blood pressure
From the evidence we could gather from Livestrong, there is no evidence that drinking water with a meal is bad for you. Even iced water. On the contrary it could be beneficial for you since it will fill up our stomach thereby reducing your food intake, lubricate all the issues and help digestion.
Benefits of Water
1. Flushes Out Toxins
Every time I go for a massage, they give me a bottle of water, supposedly to reduce the lactic acid build and wash out all the toxins that have been squeezed out. While the evidence for that is inconclusive we do know that water in your body does many things, but chief among them is the ability to flush out any toxins. I am convinced that just like you need to wash your dirty clothes or clean your plates, our bodies need water to flush out all the toxins.
2. Improved Mental Alertness & Physical Reflexes
Active young children need high levels of water. Unfortunately because they are so involved in play they delay drinking fluids, not wanting to miss out on play even for a moment. This can lead to severe dehydration. It is also thought that providing drinks to children can help them to perform better in standardized tests of concentration, short term memory and other essential elements of the learning process.
Exercise requires lots of water as our body starts working overtime. Lack of water can create brain fog, lack of concentration, create cramps and slow down your reflexes which can be especially dangerous if you are lifting weights or an athlete and need to concentrate. Hydrate before, during and after exercise. According to this WebMd article ““Just losing 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%.”
3. Body Temperature Control
Water is also an important part in thermoregulation, because it is a major component of blood volume. During exercise, sweat output often exceeds water intake, producing a water deficit or hypo hydration which results in increased heat storage by reducing sweating rate and skin blood flow responses for a given core temperature. Children have lower sweating capacity and less tolerance for hot temperatures. They need frequent fluid intake in order to regulate body temperature. According to this abstract dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte problem among the elderly, caused by among other things reduced thirst perception, infections, medication, high protein tube feeding and cerebral vascular accidents.
2. Digestive Lubricant
Water also acts a lubricant. Just like a car need oil to function efficiently, your body needs water to enable many of the chemical processes to work effectively. The University of Nebraska institute cites water as especially important for moving food through the digestive tract, in addition to acting as the medium through which nutrients and essential elements are distributed into the body. The digestion of protein and carbohydrates to usable and absorbable forms also depends on water as part of the chemical reaction. The presence of water in and around body tissues helps defend the body against shock. The brain, eyes, and spinal cord are among the sensitive structures that depend on a protective water layer.
3. Helps Nutrient Absorption
If you don’t take enough water, your body maybe unable to absorb essential nutrients. And without essential nutrients you might develop health complication like dry skin or worse a heart attack. According to this research summary Adequate water intake is necessary for optimal absorption of water-soluble vitamins, which include ascorbic acid, nicotinic acid, riboflavin, B12(thiamine), and B6 (pyridoxine).
4. Calorie Control/Weight Loss
Often when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty. As we get older our water signaling systems don’t work as well, so our bodies think we need food. Is that the reason we get fat as we get older? Possibly. But drinking sufficient levels of water will keep us feeling full and prevent over eating. It’s that simple. Water is also a great alternative to drinking high calorie beverages like soda and fruit juice. You can go one step better and drink some Ceylon Cinnamon Black Tea or make some Cinnamon stick tea with lime, which can help reduce the sugar spikes and make you feel full without the need to over eat.
5. Reduced Heart Attacks
According to this study, the relative risk of heart attacks were reduced in the range of 40% for those who consumed five or more glasses of water per day. Pretty impressive. But more research and studies are needed.
6. Lower Cancer Risk
This study found water consumption was marginally associated with a decreased colon cancer risk among men. This WSJ article says “ a 10-year study of nearly 48,000 men published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1999 found that the risk of bladder cancer fell 7% for every cup subjects drank per day. Other studies have found that the more water subjects drank, the fewer precancerous colon polyps they had “.
8. Better Skin Health
Take a closer look at people with great skin. Chances are they drink more water than most people. While many scientist dismiss the theory that water helps reduce dry skin, logic suggests that water should help. According to this article, water helps get rid of skin toxins and many people have reported that their skin has a healthy glow and reduced levels of acne. If you have chronic dry skin, start increasing your water consumption slowly and hopefully you will start to see healthy glowing skin in a few months. Apparently it takes time, so you need to be consistent and patient.
The conclusion we can reach from all the data is that moderate water consumption is the best strategy. Over consumption of water is inherently risky as is too little water. While your body will give you a signal when it needs water, as we get older this natural thirst quenching signals may erode, so should try to keep within the drinking guidelines and not fall drastically below that level. Neither too high or low. If you live in hot climate or exercise heavily your water needs will increase while people in cooler climates may require less than the usual amounts. Quality of water is important, so vary your sources of water and never get into a pattern of drinking any particular type of water. Mix it up. Add a Cinnamon stick to your water from time to time. It’s refreshing.