Last week we talked about how most North Americans are dehydrated and don’t even know it. Why do you need water? Here are some of the basics:
You are largely made of the stuff.
As a whole, your body is about 75% water. The brain specifically is made of 85% water, which means that dehydration quickly affects brain function. A drop as low as 2% in fluid levels can cause fuzzy thinking and short-term memory impairment.
It’s a liquid roadway through your body.
Water is the solvent which nutrients and wastes use to travel to their destinations throughout your body. Without enough, hormones, chemical messengers and nutrients can’t get to where they need to be.
Digestion depends on it.
Every time you eat something, huge amounts of water are needed to break it down and move it through the digestive tract. This means that eating results in a loss of water, and is why you should never eat if you’re thirsty! If you are thirsty, then for heck’s sake, drink some water! It’s a good idea to drink a big glass of water about a half hour before each meal, to supply your body with what it needs to deal with the food that you’re about to eat.
You can’t poop like a champ if you don’t drink enough water.
Water is required in abundance for the bowel to eliminate, and also for the kidneys to regulate. Adequate water is necessary to flush these systems and to detoxify and cleanse your whole body.
Dehydration can cause depression
If there’s not enough water to transport wastes out of the body, someone’s got to do it! The amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine can pick up some of the slack, but doing so means abandoning their jobs as neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in depression.
What are you telling me? That I’m tired because I’m thirsty?
Yes, it is possible! Dehydration is a factor in dry skin, low stomach acid production (digestive difficulties), depression, poor memory and lowered energy levels. It can even play a role in allergies and asthma.
How much do I need?
Your body requires about 2 liters of water each day, or 8 glasses (8 ounces each). Herbal teas can count toward this total, but caffeine and alcohol are diuretics (that means they make you pee), which means that for each caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume, you need to drink two additional glasses of water just to break even!
The best way to start the day:
Drink one or two glasses of fresh water first thing each morning, before you eat or drink anything else. This will help to wake your insides up, flush the system, and prepare the body for digestion. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice for an extra boost!
Want to know more? Read the book “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj. It’s much more fascinating than a book all about drinking water may sound – this book just might blow your mind. In the words of Dr. Batman (as we here in the western world cannot resist abbreviation his name to), “You’re not sick; you’re thirsty! Don’t treat thirst with medication.” Oh, the power of the most simple things!
Are you one of those creatures who has a “thing” against water? It’s amazing to me how many people don’t like to drink water, and who avoid it on purpose. If that’s you, READ NEXT WEEK’S POST. It’ll give you some strategies for up-ing your water intake.
Until then, stay hydrated, friends!
-the FGF team