Saturday, 23 May 2015

Essence of Life ☔

Water is the driving force of all nature. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Even though water has no color, taste, or scent, and is devoid of calories or organic nutrients; it is a substance that is essential to all life forms.

We can last several weeks without food, but only days without water. Water comprises approximately 55-78% of the body (depending on body size), and is therefore essential for the human body to function properly. Water is contained in the lean muscle, fat and bones and forms the basis of our blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration. The body is unable to store water, so in order for the body to perform almost every metabolic process, we require a fresh supply daily.

Water is the most perfect embodimenta pure and concentrated essence.

I have, for many years, been an avid fan of the caffeine beverage— coffee—black, with one sugar. I would drink anywhere from a few cups to a couple of pots of coffee daily. Yes, I was a coffee-aholic! If I happened to miss my morning coffee for some unconscionable reason, I would be the proud owner of a throbbing headache within a couple of hours. Headaches were not something that I had normally been prone to. However, a few months ago, headaches were becoming a common occurrence, staying with me for days at a time. As well, I was experiencing frequent leg cramps (charley horse) in the mornings.

Along with other symptoms such as fatigue, it was discovered that the headaches and leg cramps were due to dehydration. Even though coffee is a liquid, the body requires water with few impurities to supplement the other foods and beverages we consume. Caffeine, which acts as a diuretic, can dehydrate you.

*These symptoms could also be due to a deficiency in magnesium, so best to check in with your health care provider.

When your water intake doesn't equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after approximately 2% of normal water volume has been lost. Signs and symptoms of dehydration in adults may include dry mouth and increased thirst, weakness, dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, sluggishness, confusion, decreased urine output and fainting. If urine color is concentrated and deep yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.

Approximately 20% of our water intake comes from food or beverages (caffeinated included) other than drinking straight water. The adult body requires between 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day to avoid dehydration. The precise amount depends on temperature, humidity and level of activity. Water is excreted from the body through sweating, urine and feces, and by breathing (exhalation of water vapor). With physical exertion and heat exposure, water loss will increase and daily fluid requirements may increase as well.

Women who are pregnant should increase their water intake by 2 cups, while women who are breastfeeding, since a large amount of fluid is lost during nursing, should increase their fluids an additional 4 cups to stay hydrated.

While it is dangerous to drink too little, people can also drink far more water than necessary as well, putting them at risk of water intoxication or hyper-hydration—which can be fatal. For those who have healthy kidneys, it would be rather difficult to drink too much water, especially in warm humid weather and while exercising. Adequate fluid intake is also helpful in preventing constipation and studies have shown that extra water intake (up to 500 ml) at mealtime is conducive to weight loss. Not drinking enough water increases the risk of kidney stones and, in women, urinary tract infections, and can also lower your physical and mental performance.

It takes constant perseverance to make changes to habitual routines. I haven't completely cut out the coffee, but have reduced my caffeine intake considerably. I am now in the habit of filling up a water container and setting it beside my coffee pot (preferring my water to be at room temperature due to teeth sensitivity). Setting the water close to my coffee pot helps as a reminder in making a conscious choice.

Since drinking more water, I no longer have the headaches and leg cramps and my energy levels have improved.

Occasionally, I will add three tablespoons of lemon juice to my water jug, for the taste, as well as vitamins and minerals. Solutes are acceptable and even desirable for taste enhancement and to provide needed electrolytes.

Other ways you can give your water a little flavour and some visual appeal, if you prefer, is to add fruit ice cubes. Wash your fruit pieces or berries, place into your ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze.

Add them to your drink, and enjoy!

And if that doesn't get you drinking more water, take into consideration that depriving the body of it's much needed water can also make us look much older than we are. Water is good for the complexion.

Related Video: Water - Fuel for Your Body

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