We feel kind of sorry for water. While everybody always fusses about what foods to eat and how much to consume, about the only thing folks hear about water is, “Be sure to drink at least eight or nine glasses a day.” That’s it. Poor ol’ water just isn’t getting the respect it deserves.
Well, no more! We’re here to sing its praises and to remind you that water is more than a means to quenching your thirst and filling you up before you overindulge on a meal. (Try drinking a cup or two 10 minutes before eating. It works.) Since water makes up about 65% of our blood and 60% of our bodies overall, we are utterly and completely dependent on it. Without water, we would probably die more quickly than an under-watered potted plant. You can survive for weeks without food, but you’ll last only a few days without water.
Here are some of the reasons why women should drink at least eight to nine eight-ounce glasses of water per day and why men should down at least 13 cups of water daily. (That’s right. Men need to drink more water than women. So get on your guy about it—and, no, beer cannot substitute for water!)
Without the proper amount of water, biochemical functions taking place throughout the body are, at best, compromised and, at worst, they just don’t happen. Over half the content of our blood is water and is necessary for carrying oxygen, nutrients, hormones and other, literally, life-giving biochemical substances to our cells. And since we’re really nothing but a zillion different cells organized into a rather attractive package, adequately watering our cells is paramount to good health and wellness.
Water is also used by the body to lubricate joints. Keep this in mind if you’re exercising or if you’re suddenly feeling (as our grandparents say) the weather in your bones. A good portion of the fluid surrounding our major organs is water, it cushions them like a protective water-bed should they be traumatized by a fall or blow.
Water is the waste-management workhorse in the body, and it flushes waste and toxins out through the kidneys (urine), intestinal tract (stools), skin (perspiration) and lungs (breath). About three cups of water is lost through perspiration and breathing, and about 6.3 cups is expelled daily through urine. If you wonder about some of the side-effects of flushing too little water through the kidneys, ask anyone who’s ever passed a kidney stone if they wish they’d been drinking more water!
While it’s natural to curse at perspiration rings and sweat trickling down the back of your neck, just be glad your body’s doing what it’s supposed to do when you’re hot. Again, it’s thanks in part to water that your body temperature is regulated: your water-saturated blood absorbs heat from your body’s core then moves it to the surface of your skin where it’s expelled as perspiration, which, as it evaporates, cools the body. It’s another reason why you should significantly up your intake of water before exercising.
Although it’s tempting and certainly natural, don’t rely on your thirst to remind you to drink an adequate amount of water. The Mayo Clinic suggests that, by the time you actually feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Even being slightly dehydrated can negatively affect your health, since it directly or indirectly impacts just about every function of the body. And how do you know if you’re dehydrated? Symptoms include dry eyes or mouth, sore muscles, rapid heart rate, lethargy, less frequent visits to the restroom, and dark and funky-smelling urine.
Remember, whatever water you’ve “leaked” in one form or another, you need to replace. Here at Best Day Ever, we’ve found that a good way to remember to drink enough water is to get into the habit of drinking a cup or two of water or tea immediately after flushing. (A mnemonic device for remembering this rule is “teepee!”)