Water & Energy

The medical community earlier theorized that the 80% of our body that is liquid merely supported the structure of bone and organ tissue. Yet through years of research and studies they now view our bodies as a Hydro Generator managing the fluids that create our level of well being. In fact, every body function and process happens in the presence of water.
Our blood is more than 83% water and must be sufficiently hydrated to enable the distribution of nutrients, oxygen and antibodies throughout the human body. Our brains are over 80% water controlling each and every process that happens inside of our body.  Direct control is maintained by the constant sending and receiving of electrical signals through the nervous system, which is no more than a complex system of tiny water ways.  The fluid inside the nerves themselves is made up almost exclusively of water and minerals and is transported to every cell and organ.  Even our energy level is impacted by the level of water consumed.

Just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in most people, while a 15% drop can cause death.

Water is also what our liver uses in the metabolism of fat into energy. But our body’s detoxification system is probably the single most important component to optimum health and wellness. The adequate intake of water assists the body with the most basic bodily processes of digestion, temperature control, joint and muscle lubrication and skin hydration. To accentuate the point, every blink, any movement, or breath requires the use of water. Your lungs for instance expel between two and four cups of water each day through the daily process of breathing.  When your feet sweat or perspire due to extreme heat or exercise, there goes another two cups of water and probably some calcium. When you take a trip or two to the bathroom that’s could add up to another four to six cups of fluid.
No one on this planet can live without precious H2O for more than a few days. Water constitutes about 40 to 75% of a person’s total body mass, while muscle and fat tissue contains 72 -50 % respectively.  A baby’s weight is at 80 % water. There is water in every cell and every type of body tissue, even in teeth and bones. And our blood is fully four-fifths (4/5) water. In fact, the minimal amount of fluids the body uses is a byproduct of metabolism released into the body.

Water has a dramatic impact on energy density.  Water has an energy density of zero.  It absolutely has weight yet it has no calories. You can not live without water or death will occur in a matter of days.  Body fluid is your transport mechanism in which chemical reactions take place.  Every cell in the body is bathed in a fluid of the exact composition that is needed for its performance. Water has many roles outside of transport:  it allows diffusion of gases across surfaces, delivers waste products from the body, lubricates joints, protects a variety of “moving” organs (heart, lungs, intestines, and eyes), provides structure and form to the body and acts as a thermoregulatory by absorbing the body’s heat.

Note:  Water makes up about 60 percent of our internal body systems – cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive, keeps your membranes moist and assists in the excretion of toxins through urine and sweat.

There is validated official recommended daily allowance or requirement for water.  Non-active, healthy individuals should drink 1/2 ounce water per day for each pound of body weight.  An active or athletic individual should drink 2/3 ounce for each pound of weight.  Expert upon expert suggest we need to drink at least 2 quarts, or 8 X 8 ounce glasses, of the stuff every day.  The dictum to get 8 ounce glasses of water every day is suspect.  According to a review of studies published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers found no evidence that linked 8 glasses a day to a curbed appetite, eased headaches, or help with detoxifying the body.  Optimum hydration varies from person to person depending on exercise, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or if you are suffering from a fever, diarrhea, or urinary-tract stone or infection.  Of course all the fitness gurus and diets recommend a person’s fluid need is 8 – 10 glasses (8oz or 1c).  Let’s face it, there are as many exceptions to these rules as there are people. Don’t feel you need to limit yourself to water because milk, juice, tea, coffee and soda provide you some water.  Believe it or not food choices can provide 20% of your bodily fluids.  But most professionals believe you should drink beverages which contribute nutritional value with minimal calories.  If you are watching your weight, be responsible since it is easy to consume large amounts of calories in some drinks. Over the years many waters with vitamin or herbs have been launched. Many of these new waters are jam packed with sugar, artificial sweeteners, other additives, vitamins and calories.  And some of the naturally carbonated mineral waters actually offer health benefits.  Water should be handled like food and should be stored in a cool, dry environment, away from direct sunlight and household chemicals.  Once opened, if not completely consumed it should be recapped and stored in a cool, dry place like your refrigerator.  Plain water is the best.  Ideally it should be purified or filtered and not come from a plastic bottle.
Watermelon 92% water, fish 88%, carrots 87% and lettuce is 96%
Humans can tolerate only relatively small variations in internal core temperature.  Exposure to heat or cold stressors initiate thermoregulatory mechanisms. The hypothalamus serves as your body’s internal thermostat.  It responds to receptors in the skin and changes in blood temperature.  Your body’s ability to sweat causes the moisture to evaporate which is the body’s efficient way of defending itself from overheating.  That is why when you are in a warm, humid environment the effectiveness of evaporative heat loss decreases dramatically. Then there is the question of water temperature.  Again some like it hot, while others will not touch the stuff unless on ice.  Experts tend to agree you should hydrate with water and drink it any why you want.

The Power of Water
Water provides the body many benefits, but the main roles are the regulation of body temperature, joint and muscle lubrication, and transport of nutrients and waste.  Body Temperature hovers at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (my temperature is typically 96.0 degrees Fahrenheit), this is regardless of the outside and inside temperature, the condition of pregnancy or taking a “hot” Yoga class.  The body has self-adjusting blood vessels that act like thermostats and the cooling effects take the form of perspiration and evaporation from the skin. It’s a Lubricator to bones, joints, muscles, and lungs.  Without water some of our parts would stop moving.  It Transports dissolved nutrition from our food into the blood, which nourishes all our cells.  Water also delivers waste and toxins taken from the cells and transports it to lungs, skin or kidneys to be excreted.  Water also helps move solid waste through the intestines and out of the body (see fiber). Think of water as your inner spa, cleansing the inside of your body. Only 2 to 4 percent of the water output leaves the body though the intestinal tract.

Nutrition and Water
Foods with high water content effect satiety because water disburses the calories in food, adding weight and volume without the calories.  So choose foods rich in water.  For instance choose fresh fruit over its dried versions such as apricots, cherries, grapes and mangos.  The fresh fruit has high water content and fewer calories compared to its dried cousins.
Foods display huge differences in water content.  The higher the water content the fuller you will feel and on fewer calories.
Water Content in Percentages:
Hot Cereals     – 85%
Soup – 80-95%
Fruits – 80-95%
Yogurt, Low-fat fruit flavored – 75%
Vegetables – 80-95%
Seafood – 60-85%
Pasta, cooked – 65%
Meats – 45-65%
Bread – 35-40%
Cheese – 35%

Many people think that if they are hungry, they can satisfy that hunger by drinking a big glass of water.  Water is always a healthy choice yet it won’t fill you up.  The body can extract some of the water it needs from the foods you eat and I encourage you to rethink your food choices and pick foods that are full of water or consume water rich dishes like soup, pasta, and vegetables.

One of the most important things to remember when meeting or planning the consumption of fluids is whether your thirst keeps pace with your needs.  When engaged in activities, especially for an extended period of time, it is important to be aware of how you feel.  Plan to drink sufficient amounts of liquid (preferably water) to stay hydrated, promote optimum performance, and prevent problems associated with dehydration.  Of course, we have built a food industry on flavored water, loaded with sugary calories.  Then there are fruit juices which are not a good source of water because of the high sugar content, while coffee and alcoholic beverages become more of a diuretic, many times simply increasing your body’s need for simple pure water.

Q:  Can I consume too much water?
A:  Too much water lead to over hydration, and a condition called Hyponatremia with symptoms like lightheadedness, nausea, and swelling.  Basically this is a sodium imbalance in the body brought about by over hydration.

During a moderate 60 minute workout, you can expect to lose approximately 0.5 – 1.5 liters of sweat.  Thirst is not always considered an accurate indicator of hydration but rather small volumes of dark urine is a better indicator of dehydration.  Any degree of dehydration impairs physiologic function and thermoregulation.  Dehydration reduces circulatory and temperature regulating capacity and compromises the ability to meet the demands of exercise and/or increased activity level. A progression model for dehydration would follow the following steps:
.  Peripheral blood flow and seating diminish
.  Heart rate increases
. Core temperature increases
. Perception of effort increases
.  Risk of Hyponatremia or rather low sodium increases
There are other dehydrating factors like illness, hot and cold weather, stress, dieting and air travel.  Water needs change day to day and decade to decade.

Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and old. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include and are not limited to:
.  Excessive thirst
.  Fatigue
.  Headache
.  Dry mouth
.  Little or no urination
.  Muscle weakness
.  Memory issues
.  Dizziness
.  Sudden weight loss
.  Rough dry skin
.  Rapid pulse
.  Impaired kidney function
.  Pale skin
.  Bluish lips and fingertips
.  Shock; seizures
.  Coma; death

The body has no formal plan for water storage; therefore the amount lost in a 24 hour day must be replaced to enable the body to efficiently perform bodily functions.  A standard hydration schedule based on recommended caloric intake is 2.5 liters or approximately 2.5 to 3 quarts for adults. With infants having a greater need for water because of the limited capacity of their kidneys, they have a higher percentage of water weight (80%) and large surface area per unit of body weight.

A change in body weight is the best indicator of the extent of fluid lost and the adequacy of rehydration.  Each 1 pound loss represents a 15-fluid ounces loss.  When rehydrating, the estimated fluid loss should be divided into 15 minute water breaks. For instances if you worked out for 90 minutes, and lost 5 pound of H2O you’d need to rehydrate with 10 ounces every 15 minutes.

To get re-hydrated consume palatable flavored drinks.  What individuals seem to forget is after 60 minutes of moderate-high intensity exercise, the physiological need for additional nutrients (typically carbs and minerals) increase.

Benefits Associated with water can be summed up:
.  Carries nutrients throughout the body.
.  Cleanses the tissues and blood of wastes.
.  Serves as the solvent for minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose and other small molecules.
.  Actively participates in many chemical reactions.
.  Acts as a lubricant around joints and muscle tissue.
.  Serves as a shock absorber inside of the eyes, spinal cord, joints, and amniotic sac surrounding a fetus in the womb.
.  Aids in maintaining the body’s temperature.
Revise and add:
Water Content in Percentages:
Hot Cereals     – 85%
Soup – 80-95%
Fruits – 80-95%
Yogurt, Low-fat fruit flavored – 75%
Vegetables – 80-95%
Seafood – 60-85%
Pasta, cooked – 65%
Meats – 45-65%
Bread – 35-40%
Cheese – 35%

For more information on specific percentages of water of some common foods, visit Nutritive Value of Foods, US Department of Agriculture.  Home Garden Bull No. 72, revised 1985. Percentage Water of Some Common Foods.

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