You need water.
I realize the obviousness of this statement.
Nonetheless, you need water.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of problems I’ve seen during my career as a physician caused by people not drinking enough water. The cure these people found for these issues? They drank more water.
Now there are some talking heads out there in the general media, claiming to give health advice, who say silly things like, “It doesn’t matter how much water you drink”.
It does matter.
Even the United States government, a very conservative voice when it comes to advice about health, makes recommendations about how much water we need to drink each day. Most people aren’t drinking even this recommended minimal amount.
The simple formula still used and recommended is to calculate your minimum water intake based on weight. Take your weight in pounds, divide by two and this will give you the number of ounces of water you should drink each day. If you weigh 192 pounds, you would want to drink 96 ounces (3 quarts) of water each day. A standard recommendation sometimes presented, suggests drinking two quarts of water per day. This came from a time 100 years ago when on average people were smaller. 2 quarts of water is 64 ounces, and 64 ounces would be enough water each day if you weigh 128 pounds. Society has changed greatly and now the weight/ounce formula is better.
There are some factors that require you to drink more than this simple formula:
- If you live in the mountains,
- If you sweat a lot due to a hot climate, strenuous exercise or strenuous physical work,
- If you drink a lot of coffee or dark tea,
- You eat more than 90 g of protein per day.
Drinking adequate amounts of water benefits the health of your skin, makes you less prone to constipation, provides the healthy moisture needed for your lungs and eyes, and can help a great deal with clearing toxins from your body on a daily basis.
Often when I propose to people that they drink more water they voice concern about potentially spending too much time in the bathroom. It is true that if you are not in the habit of drinking adequate amounts of water, you may well have a backlog of garbage that needs to be excreted through the kidneys. There are certain waste products that can only be excreted in urine, but the kidneys need water to put the garbage out.
The kidneys are very smart organs. If there isn’t enough water around, they hold on to the garbage until there is enough water in your system. So, when you first start drinking adequate amounts of water you may be peeing more for a couple of weeks while you clear the backlog of waste. After a couple of weeks, when the backlog clears, there are other ways for the body to eliminate excess free water. Your body can sweat more and put more moisture into your skin. You can leave more fluid in your stool, relieving any tendency to constipation. It can eliminate up to several quarts of water per day in your breath, leaving your lungs moister and healthier.
As you can see, when you drink enough water on a regular basis it is not necessary that all of that water leave through your kidneys. Just another system in the body that knows how to regulate itself if given enough support. It will work without the support, but then it works harder to compensate for the things you do not give it. We forget how important something as simple as water can be for our overall health, and so we must cultivate awareness to maintain these basic needs.
A trend I’ve noticed as well is the statement,”I don’t drink water because I need something that has taste.” Remember that soda and flavored water are not the same as good filtered water. Not the same at all. These days you can get colored flavoring to squirt into your water to make it “taste” better. If you care at all for your health, stay away from products like these. These types of products remove much of the benefit of the water by adding chemicals and sweeteners your body then has to process. Instead of drinking something beneficial, you drink toxins.
If you can, get a basic Brita filter for your home. Since tap water quality varies from place to place, it’s a good idea to do some basic filtering of your water. We actually use a Berkey Water Filter, which for about three hundred dollars is a great value given the quality of water that comes out of it. You can check it out here. (Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System ). I believe they also have a smaller water bottle sized filter as well.
Some of this may feel a little overwhelming. Keeping track of your water intake and the quality of the water can lead some to just abandon the whole venture all together and go back to soda and juice. Change can be like this.
If you’ve been reading our posts recently we keep coming back to this notion of routine. If you can take even one change on for a stretch of time, like getting enough water, you will likely see a difference.
Remember that an adult body is about 60% water. (Babies are more in the 75% range). So over half your body is water. Makes sense that you need a good amount of water to keep that system going. If what you drink is mainly processed chemicals and sugar..well…I think you can see where I’m going. Taking care of your water intake then just makes good sense.
So take the water challenge. Try three weeks of drinking half your weight in ounces of water each day. See what happens. Then tell us what you found.
Until then – To Your Health.