A Quenchable Thirst

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Posted November 30, 2007 in Mind Body Spirit

In your home, every day, you possess a fantastic wonder drug that can help you lose weight and lead to beautiful, clear, glowing skin. Some doctors even claim that it helps combat disease and illness. What is this magical elixir, you ask?

The answer is water. Yes, plain old tap water, no fancy additives or bottle necessary. Water naturally suppresses the appetite by helping you to feel full on zero calories and helps the body metabolize fat by keeping the kidneys and the liver functioning properly. It rids the body of toxins and helps make skin cells plump and clear—Jessica Biel credits water for her rockin’ body and her radiant skin. And, of course, you also happen to need the H2O to live—it’s the second most important element for human life after air. As temperatures finally start to cool down in SoCal, a lot of people think getting plenty of water is less important. The IE Weekly is here to tell you why this sort of thinking is all wet.

Water is actually your body’s principal chemical component, making up about 60-percent of your bodyweight; but don’t think you can skip out on the clear stuff to drop a few pounds because every system in your body depends on water to function. It flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, lubricates joints, prevents constipation, regulates body temperature to ensure your brain functions normally and allows the necessary moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

We lose water constantly through our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements, thus we must constantly replenish it by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. By now, most of us have probably heard the general rule that you should drink eight glasses of water every day; however, in reality, water needs actually vary by the individual depending on size, health, activity level and location.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the average urine output for adults is one-and-a-half liters a day, and we lose an additional liter through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20-percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume two liters of beverages a day (a little more than eight cups) along with your normal diet, you should be able to replace the lost fluids. But the Institute of Medicine advises more—about three liters (13 cups) of total beverages a day for men, and 2.2 liters (about nine cups) for women.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, it’s generally not a good to use thirst as a signal to drink. By the time your body feels thirst, you are already a bit dehydrated.

“I always tell people to look at the color of their urine,” says Lona Sandon, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “If it’s very yellow—the color of apple juice—then you are not getting enough water. If it’s clear like water, then you are drinking too much. You want your urine to look like lite lemonade.”

There are also certain situations in which you should up your intake. You obviously want to drink more in hot weather, but heated indoor air can also contribute to dehydration and necessitates more water. If you exercise and are sweating, drink another two to three cups per hour. Pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and people who are suffering from certain illnesses need more water, and should get guidelines from their doctor. Altitudes greater than 8,200 feet can also trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing which can lead to dehydration so make sure you drink up when you’re up high.

Water—it’s good for you, calorie-free, cheap and readily available. At least, for now.

 


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