It’s time for a Water Roll Call!
Water – the fluid of life. Our bodies in general are approximately 60% water. “According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.” Each day, we need water to survive. Even if we stopped eating for a period of time, we would still need water to keep functioning, even for a little while. So let’s take a little water roll call, shall we?
But, I drink other things during the day – doesn’t that count? The short version of that answer is Yes, and No. Technically you are drinking fluids, so yes you are drinking – period. However, it is the right type of fluid that you ingest that counts. Beverages such as coffee, tea, juice are examples while lovely and tasty to consume do have side effects of sorts. and yes, they do count in your fluid tally to a point. Coffee and tea have caffeine, and are considered to have some diuretic properties. In fact moderate consumption of caffeinated beverages such as in your local coffee shop run, can lead to increase in urine loss, however it has been shown that decaffeinated beverages have very little if any direct effect on diuresis. Juices, sports drinks, again are fluids, however excess sugars in any of these drinks are the culprits. If you feel you must drink these, try diluting them with water to lower the sugar content. Alcohol is definitely a culprit. Again, technically a fluid, but in this case, a major dehydrator, not to mention the complete lack of nutritional value, and overload on organs such as liver and kidneys. Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum and make sure you offset each glass with water in an equal1:1 ratio.
What are other sources of water/fluid intake? Coffee and tea aside, there are surprisingly many hidden sources of water that you can find in your diet. Specific vegetables and fruits contain a certain portion of water. Green vegetables such as celery, leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, along with fruits like oranges, melons, grapefruit are great sources. Other beverages such as milk, or water/nut milks in smoothies, soups, or yogurt can be options that count towards your fluid intake.
So, how much water should I be drinking in a day? Here’s the simple formula. Start with dividing your weight (in pounds) in half and drink that number in ounces! The reason why I use Imperial measurements here is that in metric this formula doesn’t translate accurately. So a 160 lb. woman would need approximately 80 oz. of water per day – that translates to 2.3 L or just over one of your 2L bottles that you typically may purchase in the store. For your information 1 fl oz. = 28.41 ml.
I can never drink too much water, can’t I? By the way, too much water intake can be just as detrimental as too little. While over hydration is relatively uncommon, it has happened. The belief that more is better is not applicable to water just as much as it is to any other foods or beverages that one consumes. Taking on too much water can lead to a condition called hyponatremia – low body levels of sodium which could lead to brain swelling and other complications such as kidney damage. So yes, you can get too much of a good thing.
And here’s a last point – a lot of people who have come into my clinic have often said that they avoid drinking water, simply because they can’t stand the taste of it. My answer to that is to simply make a jug of water that you can put into your fridge, add slices of fruits such as lemons, oranges, berries, cucumber, just as examples. Let it sit for an hour in the fridge to allow the flavours to blend together. Then sip and enjoy! Sometimes, just jazzing up the flavour with something nutritious is just what is needed to kickstart your process and keep your costs to a minimum.
To your Health,
Dr. Olena Gill is a Naturopathic Physician and Acupuncturist practicing in Parksville, BC on Vancouver Island. She can be reached at 778-762-3099 or www.indigomedicine.com Disclaimer: Information in this article is not a substitute for medical evaluation or advice. See your Naturopathic Physician for proper evaluation and prescription.