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Health Benefits*
Functions of Water In The Body

Water makes the planet Earth special in the cosmos.

Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

How much water do you need?

Try to drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much water does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? In general, doctors recommend 8 or 9 cups. Here are the most common ways of calculating that amount:

Replacement -- The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day. You lose close to an additional liter (about 4 cups) of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace your lost fluids. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

The "8 x 8 rule" -- Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). Although the approach really isn't supported by scientific evidence, many people use this easy-to-remember rule as a guideline for how much water, or other fluids, to drink.

Even apart from the above approaches, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.

Factors that influence water needs

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.

Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it's best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you're finished exercising.

Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.

Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water.

Also, you may need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones.

On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.


Stay Safely Hydrated

It's generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you become thirsty, you may already be slightly dehydrated. Further, as you get older your body is less able to sense dehydration and send your brain signals of thirst. On the other hand, excessive thirst and increased urination can be signs of a more serious medical condition. Talk to your doctor if you experience either.

Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average American diet. See Use Himalayan Salt - Do not use table salt. --

Hold the Salt

Drink When Thirsty, But Hold The Salt
By Maggie Fox

WASHINGTON - Americans can let thirst be their guide in drinking but need to cut way back on salt, a panel of experts said Wednesday.

An obsession with "hydration" may have spawned an entire industry of little water bottles, water bottle holders and regular drink breaks at gyms, but most people get plenty of fluids, the Institute of Medicine panel said.

But nearly all U.S. and Canadian adults get far more salt than recommended, and too little potassium, the panel of experts said.

The Institute, an independent body that advises the federal government on health matters, set general recommendations for water intake based on dozens of studies that show women need about 91 ounces on average of water a day and men need 125 ounces.

Food, coffee and even beer or other drinks all contribute, so it is impossible to say how many glasses of plain water someone should drink, the panel said. Only those who are very physically active or who live in hot climates may need to drink more water, the researchers said.

"While drinking water is a frequent choice for hydration, people also get water from juice, milk, coffee, tea, soda, fruits, vegetables, and other foods and beverages as well," Dr. Lawrence Appel, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and chairman of the panel, said in a statement.

"Moreover, we concluded that on a daily basis, people get adequate amounts of water from normal drinking behavior -- consumption of beverages at meals and in other social situations -- and by letting their thirst guide them."

But the panel said most North Americans eat far too much salt, much of it in processed foods.

Healthy 19- to 50-year-old adults should consume 3.8 grams of salt a day. Any more can, in some people, lead to high blood pressure, which in turn causes stroke, heart and kidney disease.

The panel of advisers, which included experts on nutrition, pediatrics, geriatrics and other areas, said the most salt anyone should eat a day is 5.8 grams.

Almost everyone gets more than this -- U.S. men's median intake of salt is between 7.8 and 11.8 grams per day, and women take in between 5.8 and 7.8 grams every day, the panel found.

Canadian adults consume between 5.1 and 9.7 grams a day.

"Older individuals, African Americans, and people with chronic diseases including hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease are especially sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of salt and should consume less than the upper limit," the panel said in a statement.

It said more than 95 percent of American and 75 percent of American women get more than this.

And Americans get far too little potassium every day -- adding to their risk of high blood pressure and bone loss, the panel found.

It said adults should consume 4.7 grams of potassium per day but most American women 31 to 50 years old consume no more than half this. Canadians typically get more potassium, which is found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

The typical Western diet is high in salt and low in potassium -- just the opposite of scientific studies have shown is needed for good health, the panel said.

"Research is needed to find ways to help people select better food choices to reduce their salt intake and boost their potassium consumption," Appel said.

The panel recommended that researchers help food processors develop better ways of making food that is low in salt. See Inner Clean Diet. See Use Himalayan Salt - Do not use table salt. --

      

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  *Consultation with a health care professional should occur before applying adjustments or treatments to the body, consuming medications or nutritional supplements and before dieting, fasting or exercising. None of these activities are herein presented as substitutes for competent medical treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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