about the importance of water in your diet?
Imagine a vast ocean studded with islands. Between
currents dance through the waves,
clearing the way for the sailing ships that deliver supplies between
the crags of land. Elsewhere, huge maelstroms churn the water into a
fury, and the
waves wash pollution out of the ocean.
This ocean is your body. Without water we couldn't exist, and
managing it is critical.
Most of you is H2O, and it accounts for between 45
and 75 percent of body weight, with the variance due to body fat levels. A very lean man may be 90 percent water
you lose just 5 to 6 percent of your water -not too hard in hot
environments or during intense physical activity- you'll become groggy,
your head will ache, and you may feel like vomiting. Renal failure
begins around 8 percent. Your muscles will spasm, your vision will dim,
your skin will shrivel and you may become delirious around 10 percent.
By 15 percent water loss you're probably going to die (2).
body needs water for just about everything. It uses it to expel waste
from the body, to cordon off dangerous toxins most people take in, like
they can safely be expelled, cushions your joints, regulates body
temperature, carries oxygen and nutrients into your cells, and keeps
metabolic activity functioning.
very existence depends on the stuff, and with most bodily functions
requiring it, you'd think we'd take more care in the quality and amount
of water we take in, but it tends to get the short end of the stick.
of Water - The Overlooked Element
Walk the streets and you'll see plenty of people with
bottles of soda
and cups of coffee, quenching their thirst with
things that will make them more dehydrated.
The true thirst quencher and hydrator, plain old water,
isn't fancy, but it gets the job done.
When people think hydration, they usually think about drinking some
liquid, but hydration
begins with our food. Stick a potato chip or some bread through a
juicer and see how much liquid comes out. Not much, eh?
Now try the same experiment with some celery and a pear.
See the difference?
The Importance of
Water - You Are What You Eat
"Therein grow trees, tall and
luxuriant, pears and
pomegranates and apple-trees with their bright fruit, and sweet figs,
and luxuriant olives. Of these the fruit perishes not nor fails in
winter or in summer, but lasts throughout the year."-The
Alcinous, The Odyssey
Fruits and vegetables
are the most water-dense food available to man.
Like our bodies, most of them are more water than
anything else. Watermelon is at least 90 percent water, for instance.
Most people eat a diet based around dehydrated
or rehydrated foods like rice and pasta, forcing them to rely heavily
on drinking water to meet their needs.
Anyone on a healthy raw
has already reduced their requirements considerably, and given their
system a boost. You'll probably quickly realize the importance of water
once you've been on this diet and feel the health proper hydration
Water is needed to flush the digestive system,
for instance. When you're eating predominantly dry foods, the body must
draw on its fluid reserves to carry out the chemical breakdown of food
proteins. Any dry food has a dehydrating effect, while fruits and
vegetables actually provide more water than is
needed for their digestion, leading to a net fluid gain.
animals, such as goats (6) and rats (7) are actually smart enough, or
attuned enough to their physiological state, to cut back on dry food
consumption when deprived of water so their liquid reserves are not
sacked at an unsustainable rate by the digestive process.
to their lack of water intake through food, the consumption of
dehydrating substances like caffeine and salt -which can actually make
you die of dehydration if you eat enough- roughly half of all Americans
are walking around chronically dehydrated(8).
of Water - Dehydrated? Say Goodbye to Your Athletic Performance
Whether you're a
professional athlete or a weekend warrior, when you're
properly hydrated your going to perform better.
Legs feeling tired on a hot run? Muscle fatigue, cramps,
and spasms are an early sign of dehydration (9).
Mildly dehydrated exercisers fatigue 25
percent faster than well-hydrated ones, and even a small two percent
decrease in hydration can cause endurance to drop seven
The Importance of
Water - Are you Dehydrated?
If you're thirsty, you're dehydrated, but your body
needs more water long before you feel that sensation. Thirst is by no
means an accurate gauge.
easy way to tell is by the color of your urine. You're only properly
hydrated if your urine is relatively clear. If it's dark yellow, your body
has too little water to clean up too many toxins.
average person needs at least one gallon of water a day, and if
properly hydrated you'll urinate eight to 12 times in a 24 hour period
You can reach your one gallon minimum however you
like. Eating fruits and vegetables and eschewing harmful
cooked, processed, dehydrated, denatured, and toxic foods, is a good
place to start. Drinking healthy distilled water is your second best
While exercising, be sure to take in enough fluids,
even if you're not
thirsty, and you may want to blend your post-workout fruit meal with
water to increase hydration even further.
1) John T. Hansen, Bruce M. Koeppen, (2002).
Netter's Atlas of Human Physiology. Teterboro, N.J: Icon Learning
Systems. 2) Encyclopaedia Brytanica:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/156064/dehydration 3) First World War.com
http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/gas.htm 4) Robert H. Dreisbach PhD, “Fluorine, Hydrogen
Fluoride & Derivatives” in the Handbook of Poisoning 9th Edition. 5) Unicef
Silanikove, Nissim. "Effect of dehydration on feed intake and dry
matter digestibility in desert (black bedouin) and non-desert (Swiss
saanen) goats fed on lucerne hay." Department of Zoology, University of
Tel-Aviv, Tel-Aviv, Israel 7) Schoorlemmer, GHM and Evered MD. Reduced
feeding during water deprivation depends on hydration of the gut. Am J
Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 283: R1061–R1069, 2002 8)
Kleiner, Susan M. "Water: An Essential But Overlooked Nutrient."
Journal of the American Dietetic Association - February 1999 (Vol. 99,
Issue 2, Pages 200-206, DOI: 9) Kleiner, Susan M. "Dangerously Dehydrated:
Are You?" Shape, September 2001 10) Graham, Dr. Douglas. "Nutrition and Athletic
Performance" pg. 21-23.
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