Health Fitness

Water – The Essential Ingredient

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Water May Be Just What the Doctor Ordered

If you’ve ever heard me speak or been in my office, chances are I’ve asked you about your daily water intake.

In today’s world, I am amazed at how little water most people consume. Maybe it’s because it’s not as flashy as cool cans and bottles filled with various sodas, energy drinks, or even beer. I think we’ve developed a need for taste, regardless of the benefits of plain water and the horrible effect other beverages have on our health and longevity.

Think about it, our bodies are made up of about 75 percent water. Doesn’t it make sense to feed it with the same ingredient? I often think of a well-hydrated muscle as a good raw red steak. Rather, I picture a dehydrated muscle as a piece of tough jerky. If you appreciate flexibility and strength, which would you prefer?

What is even more amazing than the water content of an adult, is the water content of a baby. A typical healthy baby is made up of about 90 percent water! With this in mind, think about how healthy they are and how quickly they recover from illness.

By contrast, an older person only has a body water content as low as 55 percent. Keep this number in mind when an older person is admitted to the hospital and is often told that she is dehydrated. Without proper hydration, poor health is the obvious result.

Throughout our lives, we go from 90 percent water to 55 percent. Doesn’t that alone indicate that the younger, healthier person benefits from proper hydration?

What about chronic dehydration?
Chronic dehydration is simply your body using more water than it needs over time. Signs of dehydration are often misdiagnosed and presented to a chiropractor or doctor for related symptoms.

As a chiropractor practicing in South Dakota, you would think that cases of dehydration are rare. Believe it or not, dehydration seems to be very common in the colder temperatures. It often seems that people neglect drinking water in the winter or in colder climates. Therefore, high temperatures can contribute to acute dehydration, but colder climates seem ripe for chronic dehydration. Our office sees numerous headache patients seeking acupuncture or chiropractic. Many of these patients are also dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration include dry skin, bad breath, cramps, fever, chills, headaches, and even sugar cravings.

Severe dehydration can cause life-threatening problems, such as blood clots or seizures.

A couple of simple, but accurate, signs of dehydration can be continued fatigue or yellow urine. If you are always tired and the color of your urine is not mostly clear, you may need to drink more water.

How much water should I drink?
As I mentioned, keep an eye on your urine color and energy level. A good rule of thumb for adequate water intake is 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 150 ounces of water per day. This sounds like a lot, but trust me, it’s not! Shoot, some literature recommends 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight divided by 2. Even that formula is not adhered to by most Americans.

Hunger is sometimes confused with dehydration. Many people will feel hungry and just need to increase their water intake. I suggest that you drink 1/2 to 1 liter of water before every meal. If you are consuming 3-6 liters of water per day, you are probably in the hydration stage.

Should I drink tap water?
Drinking water must be filtered. Many doctors believe that you do not need filtered water because your body and kidneys will filter the water you drink. Unfortunately, over time your body will be overloaded with toxins. A proper filtration system should at least remove toxins like chlorine and chloramine.

Minerals like calcium and sodium will improve water absorption. Recent research has shown that ionized water is even better.

Also, make sure you drink from a glass bottle instead of a plastic bottle. The plastic will leach into the water and cause problems with estrogen and testosterone levels in men and women.

Another popular type of water is carbonated. Carbonated water is not as easily absorbed by the body. Avoid sugar and preservatives in the water.

Start your day with a short breathing exercise and a liter of water. You will be amazed at how your appetite and energy levels improve.

For your health Dr. Greg Gruba

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