We’re all told to drink lots of water and cut down on the coffee, soda and alcohol. But the question is why should we drink water and how much do we really need?
Let’s start with the physiology.
Humans are composed of about 75 per cent water and it plays many important roles in our bodily functions. I
t is the most important nutrient that humans need, as we would die without it.
Life as we know it would not exist!
The main function of water is to maintain a stable environment inside and around our cells, allowing us to get nutrition into our cells and eliminate waste from our cells.
Even the brain is made up of 80 per cent water. It is an essential part of our survival.
Our body is only designed to drink water and nothing else but water. When we drink anything else it is simply drying out the body.
Drinking liquids that are not water are displacing agents or diuretics.
Each time you drink any other source you are displacing the intake of a health giving fluid and consuming empty calories, which will eventually lead to weight gain.
This means if you drink one cup of coffee a day you will need to drink the equivalent quantity in water just to balance it out. If you drink two cups of coffee then you need to drink an extra two cups of water and so on.
Most people are in a chronic state of dehydration.
A dry mouth and bright yellow urine are clear indications that you are already dehydrated.
As water is so important to the survival of the body it will scavenge water from any system in the body just to stay alive, mainly the digestive and musculoskeletal systems.
Most causes of back pain are caused by dehydration.
The discs in our spine are filled with water and when dehydrated these discs become deflated placing more pressure on the nerves.
In fact, the water volume that is stored in the core of our discs supports 75 per cent of the weight of the upper body.
If we are dehydrated then all parts of the body begin to suffer starting with the spinal discs and joints with disc L5 affected in 95 per cent of all cases.
Common pain complaints can also be associated with a lack of water.
A fatty and fluid cover called the myelin sheath surrounds our nerves. When we are dehydrated, this fatty sheath is dried out creating a greater pain response to the brain.
So, if you have ever had a sprained ankle or knee then this can flare up just from being dehydrated.
The digestive system is also heavily compromised from a lack of water. One of the most common over-the-counter medications today is to deal with constipation.
The body is a very intelligent system and will draw water from wherever it can.
In this case, water is absorbed from the mucus in the stomach and colon making it dry and hindering our digestion of foods.
Also, the lower intestine and colon will drain water away from any fecal matter lying in there. All the toxins from this waste will be drawn back into the body making it toxic and leading to a host of problems including pain in that region.
So, how much should we drink?
To ensure you stay hydrated, calculate your bodyweight in kilograms and times it by 0.033.
This is how much you need to drink in litres. For example, I weigh 80kg so I need to drink 2.7 litres a day
If you live in a hot climate you should increase this figure slightly to accommodate for sweating.
Try and drink filtered or bottled spring water and avoid cloudy plastic containers, as they are prone to leaching chemicals into the water.
Remember that anything else apart from water is displacing it and you need to drink the same quantity just to reach status quo.
Drink up and enjoy the benefits of a fully hydrated body. The worst that will happen is a few more toilet breaks.