Sunday, May 9, 2010

Water and Dehydration

When I first decided to go Paleo, one thing was topmost in my mind: What am I to drink? I lived off of green tea of the Arizona brand, I drank copious amounts of the cranberry flavoured Sierra Mist, and the best drink in the world for me was Canada Dry Ginger Ale. But, they all contained one form of sugar or another, and depending on the different brands they might contain more than one type of sugar.

I tried regular teas but I'm not one to drink green tea or english tea. I do like herbal teas, but as of yet I have not made myself any due to my preference for sugar in one form or another to make said teas palatable.

I looked around for what I could drink and the answer was there the entire time: Water. Now, if you are like me, you have heard about needing to drink 8 glasses of water per day. Which amounts to 64 ounces of water a day. It seems like a large amount and rightly so: The research that stated you need 64 ounces of water a day did not, in fact, say that. Your body needs to consume 64 ounces of fluids each day. This means waters, teas, broths, liquids from vegetables, fruits, meats, and nuts that you normally consume and so on. It seems that much of the old standby research that fills our heads with CW (conventional wisdom) is regularly false or wrongly interpreted, leading to these sorts of problems. However, with the amount of liquids that people consume that are pure sugar bombs, perhaps it is a good thing that this sort of CW is staying around.

According to researchers, we are chronically dehydrated. Researchers estimate that half of the world's population is chronically dehydrated. And in America, that level is even higher at 75 percent of the population. Most people don’t think they need to worry about dehydration. To them, dehydration is something that happens to travelers in the desert when they run out of water. But there is a chronic form of dehydration that does not have the sudden and intense nature of the acute form. Chronic dehydration is widespread in the present day and affects everyone who is not drinking enough liquid.

Here is a list of problems associated with chronic dehydration:

Fatigue, Energy Loss: Dehydration of the tissues causes enzymatic activity to slow down.

Constipation: When chewed food enters the colon, it contains too much liquid to allow stools to form properly, and the wall of the colon reduces it. In chronic dehydration, the colon takes too much water to give to other parts of the body.

Digestive Disorders: In chronic dehydration, the secretion of digestive juices are less.

High and Low Blood Pressure: The body’s blood volume is not enough to completely fill the entire set of arteries, veins, and capillaries.

Gastritis, Stomach Ulcers: To protect its mucous membranes from being destroyed by the acidic digestive fluid it produces, the stomach secretes a layer of mucus.

Respiratory Troubles: The mucous membranes of the respiratory region are slightly moist to protect the respiratory tract from substances that might be present in inhaled air.

Acid-Alkaline Imbalance: Dehydration activates an enzymatic slowdown producing acidification.

Excess Weight and Obesity: We may overeat because we crave foods rich in water. Thirst is often confused with hunger.

Eczema: Your body needs enough moisture to sweat 20 to 24 ounces of water, the amount necessary to dilute toxins so they do not irritate the skin.

Cholesterol: When dehydration causes too much liquid to be removed from inside the cells, the body tries to stop this loss by producing more cholesterol.

Cystitis, Urinary Infections: If toxins contained in urine are insufficiently diluted, they attack the urinary mucous membranes.

Rheumatism: Dehydration abnormally increases the concentration of toxins in the blood and cellular fluids, and the pains increase in proportion to the concentration of the toxins.

Premature Aging: The body of a newborn child is composed of 80 percent liquid, but this percentage declines to no more than 70 percent in an adult and continues to decline with age.

And some more reasons why you should consume more water:

Your blood is over 80 percent water and needs water to make healthy new blood cells.

Your bones are over 50 percent water and, you guessed it, need water to make healthy new bone cells.

Drinking more water actually helps lessen pain in your body by getting your lymphatic system moving. The lymphatic system is a network of nodes, tubes, vessels, and fluid that move waste out of your tissues. It requires water to function properly.

Water helps to eliminate wastes and toxins from your body through the lymphatic system, kidneys, and intestines.

Water lubricates your joints and helps reduce joint pain and protect against wear and tear.

Water regulates your metabolism so if you're overweight chances are you may need more water.

Water balances body temperature.

Water helps to ensure adequate electrical functioning so your brain and nervous system function properly. Your brain and nervous system send out electrical signals to function properly. Researchers estimate that your brain gives off about the same amount of electricity as a 60 watt light bulb. So, there's some truth to the image of a light bulb going on when someone has a good idea.

Water alleviates dehydration.

Every cell and organ in your body requires adequate water to function properly.

Most of us who eat Paleo/Primal do consume enough liquids to not have any difficulties associated with less than optimal levels of liquids, especially since we do not consume sugar. But, many of those around us do, and they are for whom this post is directed towards.

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