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The Importance Of Water

Wondering about the importance of water in your diet?

Imagine a vast ocean studded with islands. Between them, electrical 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 (1).

If 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).

Importance Of Water DrinkThe 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 salt, until they can safely be expelled, cushions your joints, regulates body temperature, carries oxygen and nutrients into your cells, and keeps metabolic activity functioning.

Our 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.

The Importance 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

Importance Of Water Watermelon

"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 Orchard of 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 food diet 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 helps promote.

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.

Many 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.

Due 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).

The Importance of Water - Dehydrated? Say Goodbye to Your Athletic Performance

Importance Of Water GrapesWhether 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 percent (9).

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.

One 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.

The 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 (10).

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 option.

Importance Of Water Drop

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.

The Importance of Water: Following Up

Read about a healthy raw food lifestyle that emphasizes the importance of water

Importance Of Water Sub Pages:

The importance of drinking pure, distilled water.

Do you need a water distiller?

Sources For The Importance Of Water :

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 http://www.unicef.org/wash/index_wes_related.html
6) 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: How Dry Are You?" Shape, September 2001
10) Graham, Dr. Douglas. "Nutrition and Athletic Performance" pg. 21-23.

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