Some of my readers may recognize this line from the poem “The Rhime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel T. Coleridge. It was written in 1798 and tells a tale of dark misfortune.
When reading the recent headline of the problems in Flint, Michigan, or when reading an article in the paper on the high amounts of chlorine and fluoride, in addition to hundreds of other toxins in our drinking water, you wonder if this is going to be our lament in the future.
As you may have guessed, my lead line in last weeks “Lu’s Views”, “what is our most important nutrient?” was referring to water. The human body requires more water than any other nutrient. Virtually everything that happens in our bodies requires the assistance of H2O to take place. That means without sufficient amounts of water, life processes suffer. The following are some of the results of not properly hydrating ourselves.
- 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
- 37% of Americans thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.
- Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
- One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs.
- A 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory & lack of focus.
- Just 5 glasses of water daily may decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%.
- Constipation is often caused by inadequate water intake.
How Much Is Enough
With all that being said, how much is enough? You may have heard that eight cups a day is the recommended amount. That is a good ballpark figure. It is true that our bodies extract water from the foods and other liquids we consume, but that was accounted for when the guidelines were established. Most of us require an average of five to eight cups per day in addition to that contained in our food.
The best gauge of how much do we need is really up to each one of us. When you get thirsty – drink water. Your body, within reason, can adjust to varying levels of water intake. If you drink less water, your body won’t eliminate as much and you will get thirsty. If you drink more water than you need, your body will eliminate the excess. Actually drinking too much water can be a problem in and of itself. Drinking too much water could lead to the depletion of vital electrolytes in our system. If you are exercising and sweating a lot, or if you work outside and sweat a lot, you need to drink more water. Also drinking too much water during a meal could lead to diluting your digestive enzymes.
You hear that some people say our body is made up of 60-70% water. Well that is only half true. Our bodies contain liquids with electrolytes, not plain water. So the liquids we ingest should contain the minerals or electrolytes our bodies need, meaning minerals like magnesium, calcium (another important subject), sodium, iodine, potassium and iron – which in fact we are no longer getting from our water. (This will be another major discussion at a later date.)
Why was it when I was a kid we did not go around with a bottle of water and why is the bottled water industry such a mega industry today? Maybe it is because we drink, but do not satisfy our thirst. Unfortunately, today the water we get from our facets is not only contaminated, but is devoid of the minerals our bodies require. We no longer have “living water”, but dead water that really does not hydrate us the way our body needs to be.
In next week’s issue I will go more into what are the contaminates in our water supply that are toxic. Besides lead, there are many, many other contaminates to be concerned about. But don’t worry, I will not leave you hanging without a solution to this major problem. Stay tuned.