Without water, there is no life. You can survive nearly a month without food, but only three days without water. Despite water’s importance to life, most people don’t drink enough water each day to stay hydrated. What many don’t realize, is that dehydration has a devastating effect on your health.
The Brain has Priority when you’re Thirsty
Our brain is 85% water, and if it becomes dehydrated, death is not far behind. Because of this, the brain controls water in the body and will take the water it needs from other parts of the body. This survival mechanism keeps us alive, but at a cost to our bodies other systems.
Water flow controls the temperature of your body
When your body gets too hot, it sweats, releasing water which cools your body. When you do not drink enough water your body loses its ability to cool itself off when necessary. Failure to stay hydrated when you are hot can lead to dizziness, fainting, heat shock, and other serious problems.
Heart has to work harder if you become dehydrated
Dehydration will make your blood thicker, which makes it harder for your heart to pump it. Since it takes more effort to push your blood through your arteries, your blood pressure increases. Blood cells also become stickier, so they are more likely to clot. For anyone with heart problems, staying hydrated is essential!
Kidneys don’t work right if you become Dehydrated
Your kidneys require water in order to function. When you become dehydrated, they become overloaded with toxins and lose the ability to flush them. Because of this, your body loses its ability to clean your blood. Toxins that cannot be flushed by your kidneys may be stored in fat cells to keep them out of the bloodstream – this means you gain weight!
Constipation: Another Symptom of Dehydration
Your body maintains proper hydration levels in its tissues by moving water in and out of the large intestine. If your body has too little water, you may get constipated. When the intestines lack water,food moves slowly through them. That can cause you to become constipated. When you are constipated, toxins stuck in your large intestine may be absorbed back into your bloodstream. When you drink enough water, friendly bacteria mixes water into the waste in the large intestine which softens it so you don’t have to strain.
Water helps relieve digestive problems
Acid reflux, indigestion, or any type of ulcer can be a sign of advanced dehydration. Water is necessary in the digestive tract; it can help dilute excessive digestive juices. If you have acid reflux, indigestion or other digestive upset you may want to try drinking 32 ounces of water over 20 minutes. You might be amazed at how much relief is provided by water!
Water helps clean the digestive tract
Drinking water between your meals helps to flush your stomach of remaining food particles. Clearing the stomach with water between meals allows it to rest.
When you drink water between meals it rinses your small intestine and lubricates it. Water improves peristalsis – the process that moves food through the intestine. Water absorbed with food also helps carry nutrients throughout the body. After you are done eating, water washes leftover food particles from the intestines and is used by beneficial intestinal bacteria to keep the sides of the intestine wall clean.
How much Water Should I Drink?
As a general rule, drink half your body weight in water every day. For example, the author of this article weighs about 135 Lbs, half of that works out to 65.5 ounces. If each glass of water is 16 ounces then 5 glasses of water – minimum – is needed. However, you will need to drink even more water if you exercise in order to replace water lost due to sweating.
You should spread your water consumption out throughout the day. An earlier article on this blog discusses timing for super hydration
In short, you should have your first glass of water when you get up in the morning, and your last an hour before bedtime, because your body needs to stay hydrated all day long!
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What does the FDA think?
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.