Restoring Health One Glass
Of Water At A Time

How often do you drink a glass of water? If you're like most people, you very rarely consume water on its own.

bottled waterMost of us prefer a soft drink (pop) or a cup of tea or coffee whenever we feel thirsty. And while obviously there is water present in each of these beverages, they also contain a number of potentially harmful ingredients.

Soft drinks contain sugar (or sugar substitutes), tea contains caffeine and tannin, and coffee contains caffeine as well as a large number of questionable chemicals.



Why is water consumption so important?

Water is the second most essential component for survival after fresh air. We can live for weeks without food but we can't survive more than a few days without water.

Water is composed of one hydrogen atom and two oxygen atoms (H2O). Your body are composed of between 55% to 78% water, depending on body size, while your cells are composed of 60-70% water.

Your body needs water to perform all kinds of functions:

  • Water acts as a solvent within the body and performs an essential role in many metabolic processes. Metabolism refers to the chemical reactions that allow the body to grow, reproduce, maintain its structures, and respond to its environment. The processes of metabolism require water to break down organic matter for both energy and constructing components of cells such as proteins and nucleic acids.

  • Your cells utilize the oxygen in water and oxidize the hydrogen in the process of cellular respiration – taking in energy and eliminating waste.

  • Water is used to neutralize excess stomach acids.

  • Water aids in the utilization of enzymes, biomolecules that convert biochemical substances into more usable forms.

  • Water aids in elimination by keeping waste matter soft.
What happens when you don't drink enough water?

When your body doesn't get a sufficient amount of water each day, it enters into a state called dehydration.

The symptoms of dehydration (from mild to severe) include:
loss of appetite
dry skin
constipation
flushing (with exertion)
low physical endurance
elevated body temperature
fatigue
dark urine
irritability
headache
dizziness
dry mouth
swelling of the tongue
decreased blood pressure
fainting
lethargy
sunken eyes
insomnia
rapid heart rate
rapid breathing
nausea
tingling (limbs)
muscle cramps
wrinkled skin
blurred vision
delirium
seizures
unconsciousness
death

Although these symptoms may also have other causes, if you begin drinking a glass of water more frequently during the day, you'll soon discover whether dehydration is a factor in your condition or not.

How often should you drink a glass of water?

How much water do you actually need every day? As with many aspects of health and well-being, there is range of expert opinion on the subject. Here are a few of the main recommendations:
  1. While there is no scientific basis for this figure, nutritionists have always advised drinking around 8 glasses of water (2 pints or 2 liters) per day, to be increased in warm weather and when exercising.

  2. Medical opinion favors a lower consumption, typically 1 liter (4 glasses) of water for an average male, with allowances made for more strenuous activity.

  3. In 1945 the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommended one milliliter of water for each calorie of food, including water contained in prepared foods. How a person should accurately calculate this is another issue, but, more recently, the Board overcame this obstacle by specifying a daily intake of 2.7 liters (11 glasses) for women and 3.7 liters (15 glasses) for men, including food sources.

  4. The Institute of Medicine recommends 2.2 liters (9 glasses) for women and 3.0 liters (12 glasses) for men. In addition, the Institute recommends 2.4 liters (approx. 9 glasses) for pregnant women and 3 liters (approx. 12.5 glasses) for breastfeeding women.
All of these recommendations allow for 20% of your water intake being provided by the foods you eat, so they're not actually claiming that you need to drink a glass of water 15 times a day. Most fruits and vegetables (excluding root vegetables) have a high water content.

Reducing these recommendations by 20%, you could conceivably modify the 8 glasses a day figure to 6.5 glasses.

Can you drink too much water?

Yes. Some people drink far more water than they need while exercising. The result of excess water consumption is known as water intoxication or hyperhydration, and can cause death in extreme cases. Recently, a young university student died as a result of a hazing ritual that required him to drink water continuously for a period of several hours. His classmates were charged with manslaughter.

How does your body lose water?

Your body excretes water through the urinary and elimination tracts, via sweating, and through water vapor in the breath. With greater activity and heat exposure, your water loss increases and needs to be replaced.

What kind of water should you drink?

Your body needs a daily supply of fresh water, free of impurities like metal salts and harmful bacteria.

In the past, when we lived more rural lifestyles, the water that we drank was from streams and wells. It was free of pollutants and contained many minerals our bodies need to function. But as we moved into the industrial age the quality of our water began to deteriorate, and when we moved from the countryside to the cities, the type of water we drank was no longer pure. The water that we drink now, if we drink it from the tap, is generally filled with toxins, bacteria, and all kinds of contaminants, and it can often do us more harm than good.

In many countries clean water is becoming scarcer, and, combined with poor sanitation, has led to a life-threatening situation. Drinking polluted water is responsible for over 5 million deaths a year.

What about bottled water?

In recent years, commercially bottled water has become a major industry. Unfortunately, the regulations concerning this industry are often ineffective. In Australia, a study of 30 brands of bottled water revealed that 12 of them contained an unacceptable level of bromate, a chemical compound that can cause diarrhea, nausea, depression of the central nervous system, kidney failure and deafness. In addition, the use of ozone to treat any lingering bacteria or viruses in bottled water can leave traces of bromate.

Under the regulations, spring or mineral water must come from underground sources but it can be treated with ozone or chlorine before bottling.

Australian Brands that don't use ozone to purify water include:
Aqua Noosa
Aqua Pure Spring Water
Aussie Natural Spring Water
Australian Pure
Black and Gold
Black Marble Mountain
Blue Beau
Cooroy Mountain Spring Water
Deep Spring
Farmland
First Choice
Fraser Blue
Hey Bill
Margaret River Spring Water
Mount Franklin
No Frills
Origin Spring Water
Peats Ridge Springs
Pharmacy Pure
Pureau
RainPure Express
Royal Harvest Spring Water
Ultra Pure Water

How to drink your daily quota of water

If you have any of the symptoms of dehydration, you need to increase your water consumption as quickly as possible. But the challenge is to find a way to incorporate drinking more water into your daily routine without it being a chore, or something you have to think about too much. A simple method we use works like this:
  • Fill three or four 16-oz bottles with water every morning.
  • Place the bottles in your work area (where you can see them).
  • Drink one glass of water per hour, starting at 9am.
    By 2pm-4pm you'll have consumed your 6-8 glasses.
Even if you start with one glass of water a day, then over the next few weeks add another glass of water each week until you reach a total of 6-8 glasses, you should begin to notice some positive changes in how you feel within a short period of time.

You can experiment with adding a squeeze of lemon or lime to your glass of water, which won't negate the benefits and may actually enhance them.

> > Health Essential #3: Nutrition


Disclaimer:
It's important that you consult with a qualified health professional before embarking on any new dietary or exercise regimen.

Gathering information online is fine for research purposes, but you need a real live professional to monitor your progress if you attempt to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Unless you're a health professional yourself, you aren't equipped to objectively observe your body's responses to a new diet or exercise program. So whatever your chosen course of action, please be sure you enlist the support of a qualified professional.

Read our full Disclaimer here.