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Water: The Forgotten Food Group

written by Guest Blogger December 4, 2012

With our heater’s on high and the moisture being sucked out of the air (and us!), it’s surprising how much water we loose in the winter when we aren’t sweating under the smoldering sun. Today’s guest post by Dee Adams reminds us how important it is to keep hydrated.   

Since a young age, we have been taught about the basic food groups. First it was the seven basic food groups. Later it dwindled down to the four basic food groups, only to shortly thereafter endure a slight modification bringing it up to five. Because the general public was thoroughly confused as to what was healthy to eat, in 1992 the USDA released, what could be likened to an infograph of today, known as the “Food Pyramid.”

This Food Pyramid has been no stranger to changes as well. Throughout all the various propaganda to eat and stay healthy, there has rarely been mention of water intake. The general rule of thumb has been that humans should drink at least eight cups of water each day, the equivalent of two quarts. For some, that is easy to do on a daily basis. Others may struggle to guzzle down even half a cup, as we live in a society that offers our taste buds sweet soda pop and other flavored drinks that only harm us.

We may have taken for granted how important water is to our bodies and our health. What does water do for our bodies? Because we lose so much water through our sweat, tears and urine, as well as our breath, that lost fluid must be replaced. Water transports nutrients throughout our bodies and carries off wastes. It lubricates our joints and to maintain that baby soft skin, we need water to keep our skin soft and supple.

Over the counter moisturizers do not add moisture to skin but act more as a moisture protectant to impede losing that moisture. As we age, our skin loses the ability to hold water, hence wrinkles set in.

There are cases where it has been revealed that the body can forego food itself for a length of time, but it must have at least water to keep it alive. Given the makeup of the human body, it is believed that when Jesus walked as a human on the earth during his 40 day fast in the wilderness with no food, he at least drank water. When the disastrous earthquake occurred in Haiti recently, there were people trapped in crumbled buildings and rubble for days and weeks. Some of those victims were fortunate to have had access to water during their plight and lived to tell about their survival tactic.

Dehydration can be deadly. During an afternoon of swinging the tennis racquet or playing golf out on the course, you certainly want to keep hydrated. One danger during such sports activity is consuming iced tea or even alcohol, which will expedite the body’s dehydration. This could cause some to feel dizzy or worse yet, have a stroke. Caffeine and alcohol act as diuretics causing the body to expel water.

Not drinking enough water daily can negatively impact your kidneys, among other key internal organs. Did you know that kidney stones are created when there exists more minerals and salts in your kidneys than there is water? Keeping enough water in your body at all times is essential.

Because we are all unique, our daily water needs will vary. So what do the experts say in regards to the recommended dose of water to maintain hydration? The Mayo Clinic states the amount of water needed is determined by the amount of exercise, the environment, any prevalent illness and pregnancy. They further state, as long as you drink enough water to not be thirsty and can produce at least six cups of colorless or light yellow urine a day, you should be fine.

If you must know the exact amount of water, you could use a tool called a Hydration Calculator. This calculator computes how much water you should drink, given that day’s activity. After plugging in your weight, amount of exercise, alcohol intake, and a few other health questions, it will reveal how much water you should drink that day.

Surprisingly, for example, a female weighing 155 lbs. with no alcohol intake, low exercise and not pregnant, it was revealed she should drink about 10 cups of water in a day. Bear in mind, eating a healthy diet will provide up to 20% of water derived from your food. Therefore, she could reasonably drink about 7-8 cups of water. Use these methods as a benchmark to determine where your personal water intake should be.

If you find it difficult to meet this goal of drinking water daily, there are ways to encourage this charge. Some people choose poor alternatives over grabbing a glass of water because it’s tasteless. Jazz up your water by adding sliced cucumbers. And mint leaves floating in your water might add a nice zing to your drink also.

Get stamped with a “water mark.” Bottoms up!

Water Picture Slideshow, courtesy of medicine.net.

About the Author

Dee Adams, a Business major, is a part-time freelance writer living in San Diego, CA. She enjoys covering topics on sports, health and all around good living. Being a tennis enthusiast helps her to keep abreast of the latest health tips to improve her game. Connect with Dee Adams.

Mmm… I’m sipping on some lemon water. How about you? 

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