By Diana Giraldo, Reporter
Clovis Roundup Newspaper
Water is all around us and whether it is to keep an animal, an ecosystem, the world, or a plant hydrated it is essential to all life as we know it.
Just as the green leaves of a plant need water to keep growing and nourishing its cells, human beings depend on water to survive and maintain their bodies.
“It keeps us alive,” said Sarah Connelly, a clinical health educator at Kaiser Permanente. “Our body is made mostly of water so it is very important that we have it.”
Humans depend on water to regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, distribute oxygen to the cells, maintain normal bowel function, balance fluids, and its just conducive to good health, explained Connelly.
Water is also the backbone to cellular structure and the skins vital nutrients, said Edgar Macias, from Macias Dermatology, without water the skin shrivels and dies.
Water can keep you full, which helps in controlling calories, said Connelly. When the body is thirsty you may feel hungry but instead of reaching for a snack, drink a cup of water and wait a moment. If the water satisfied your hunger, your body is telling you it is dehydrated. Substituting a high-calorie drink, like a soft drink, with water can also help reduce calorie consumption.
As a rule of thumb, six to eight glasses of water should be the normal intake of a healthy person but the amount can vary depending on the body size, daily activity, health issues and the weather.
According to medical news today eight cups of water equivalents to about two liters, and that is water intake on a regular day basis. Unfortunately, most of the American population does not reach this recommendation.
“Many people in general are not used to drinking just water anymore,” Connelly said. “We’ve gotten kind of fancy where it has to be in a decorative bottle, have color, bubbles, vitamins, or caffeine. Really all we need is water like our grandparents drank.”
Sports drinks are good if a person is going to a sports camp, bicycling, or in any way engaging in vigorous activity where extra salt and sugar is needed along with liquid, she added, but normally you just need water.
The body loses water continuously through breathing, perspiring, urinating and even passing stool.
Exposing skin to water and chemicals, like chlorine, also tends to dry out skin, Macias said.
Knowing if the body needs more water is simple. Thirst is a sign of dehydration.
“We really should drink water so that we don’t get thirsty, the same way we fill our cars up with gas before we run out,” Connelly said.
If the body’s water supply is not replenished symptoms of dehydration can occur. Symptoms include dry mouth, extreme thirst, feeling tired or sleepy, dizziness, confusion, or lightheadedness. Dehydration can even lead to heat stroke, which is a prolonged exposure to high temperature without drinking water where the body loses its ability to control temperature.
The key is to prevent dehydration.
Keeping water accessible at all times of day can help boost your water consumption. Having a reusable water bottle can do the trick.
Add a wedge of lime or lemon to make water more enjoyable and improve the taste without changing its nutritional value.
Make a routine. Drink a cup of water when you wake up, after brushing your teeth, before, during and after workouts, with meals, and before going to bed.
We get busy and forget, said Connelly, but there are even smart phone apps that can serve as a reminder to drink water.
“Remember water is important for life,” Connelly said.