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The Vital Role of Water
Water is the most essential nutrient and vital to good health. It makes up about 60% of our body weight, with every cell in the body dependent on it. Water helps maintain blood volume and circulation, regulates body temperature, lubricates the linings of organs, maintains kidney function, and acts as a shock absorber for our joints. Drinking water regularly can help keep your body functioning at its best.
How Much Water is Needed?
Each day water is lost through body functions, including respiration, perspiration and elimination, and it needs to be replenished. Lack of water can lead to dehydration and impaired body functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel tired.
The needed amount of fluid varies, depending on several factors:
- Fluid Needs Increase: when exercising; during hot summer weather; if you are constipated, prone to kidney stones or urinary tract infections; or if you are sick with a fever, vomiting and have diarrhea.
- When to Restrict Fluids: if you have heart, kidney or liver disease fluids may need to be restricted. Check with your health care provider.
Many experts suggest 6-8 eight (8) ounce glasses of water each day. Others recommend the ounces of fluid should be equal to 1/2 of your body weight.
Added Benefits of Water:
- Protect Against Disease – staying hydrated may protect against kidney stones, coronary heart disease, asthma, constipation and urinary tract infection.
- Boost Your Brainpower – studies suggest that drinking water when you need to concentrate improves the ability to focus.
- Prevent Headaches – dehydration is a common cause of headaches and if you’re prone to migraines it can trigger them.
- Boost Your Mood – studies show that drinking water regularly can lead to less sleepiness and fatigue along with more contentment and calmness.
Warning Signs & Tips to Keep Hydrated:
- If you urinate less than usual or your urine color is dark; it should be the color of straw.
- If you have dry mouth or decreased salivation.
- If you are experiencing fatigue, dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, muscle weakness or mood changes.
- Do not wait to be thirsty! You may already be dehydrated since thirst recognition diminishes with age.
- Water is your best bet, since it is calorie-free, readily available and inexpensive.
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