Monday, May 18, 2009

Out of the Well of Wellness Comes Water

There's nothing like it on a hot day, it is indispensable to all life forms, and it covers 71% of the earths surface (Wikipedia). You can freeze it, boil it, pour it, change it into something else through mixing it.... Water is wonderful!
Water is something that all living beings require. Without adequate water intake our bodies do not function optimally. We are composed of approximately 55-60% water. It is inorganic and forms the majority of almost all body tissue. Water participates in endless functions every that we take for granted. From your ability to see, to digestion, to a cleanser for pollutants, to a hydraulic system for your spine, and other joints, and it can help relieve constipation. Almost all metabolic reactions take place in the presence of water, it is the medium for transporting molecules in, and out, of cells. 
A mere 2% water loss can create memory problems, balance problems and lower your energy level. Our brain is mostly composed of water, and it is essential for it to function and maintain bodily functions. Unfortunately, by the time we "register" thirst ,we are already dehydrated. 
According to research most of us function at a level of mild dehydration. This dehydration doesn't only affect us physically and mentally, but cellularly. According to Medical Exercise Specialist Ty Tims, "If fluid levels aren't up to par in a cell, it's not going to be able to carry out it's function, whether it's a neuron or a musculoskeletal cell. Each cell has a special function and its efficiency level will increase, or decrease, depending on hydration levels."
According to Eldon Askew, PhD, professor of the Division of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Utah College of Health, body cells shrink, or expand, depending on fluid levels in the body, this changes the "spacial relationship of the organelles (structures  within the cells that assume specific roles)," Askew continues to say, "We think these changes in cellular size act as a signal for the regulation of cellular metabolism."
Dr. Askew's research suggests that drinking eight glasses of water each day may actually increase metabolic rates, and help the body burn calories more effectively. Additionally,  according to Jane Penz, PhD of Tuft's University, "Over weight persons need more water since larger persons have a larger metabolic load. An additional glass of water for every 25 pounds of excess weight is recommended." Dr Jane goes on to say, "Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract. Water also helps sagging skin that usually follows weight loss. Shrinking cells are buoyed by water, which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient."
Not only is water essential for metabolism and weight loss, but heart health. According to Jacqueline Chan, PhD, and also Synnove Knutsen, MD PhD , "drinking high amounts of plain water is as important as exercise, diet and not smoking to prevent coronary heart disease." (Save Your Life With Water," American Journal of Epidemiology) They went on to say, "Basically not drinking enough water can be as harmful to your heart as smoking." Their study discovered individuals that consumed 5 or more glasses per day of PLAIN water had a much power risk of developing coronary heart disease. "People need to be made aware that there is a difference , at least for heart health, whether they get their fluids from plain water or from soda," says Chan. We sometimes think that fluid is fluid. This can be very counterproductive, as some fluids act as catabalists to the system. There is no substitute for water!!
Water before, during , and after exercise  is also recommended. While there are varying opinions on the exact amount of water required, under average environmental conditions, 1.0 to 1.5 ml (1 ml=.03 ounces) of water per calorie expended is a good estimate for proper
We all need to satisfy our thirst for survival. Often we allow our thirst to get "out of control" to a dangerous level. We have needs that must be met for optimal health.  As we have more than a physical level, and we are multi- level and function, it is critical to achieve satisfaction in all levels of wellness. We have a physical need for water, an emotional need for water and a spiritual need for living water. Wouldn't it be wise to heed all of these needs for total wellness?
This is article three for the NEWSTART program. 
Let's drink deep from the well of life!!

No comments:

Post a Comment