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  • Writer's pictureAngela Belcher

Water




The Vital Role of Water in Our Bodies

Water is essential for nearly every function in our bodies. It helps the brain manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters, regulates body temperature through sweating and respiration, acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord, aids in digestion, helps deliver oxygen to the body, lubricates joints, flushes waste from the body, assists cells in growing, reproducing, and surviving, moistens mucosal membranes, and forms saliva. Interestingly, the amount of water in our bodies varies: people with more muscle have more water, those with more fat have less, and babies (up to one year) have the highest water content.


Understanding Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when our bodies do not have enough water to perform these critical functions. Although the origin of the “8 glasses a day” guideline is unclear, current recommendations suggest drinking one ounce of water daily for each pound of body weight.


Factors Contributing to Dehydration

Soda and caffeine act as diuretics, removing extra fluid and sodium from the body, which must be replaced. A simple way to gauge hydration is by the color of your urine: yellow indicates dehydration, while clear or almost clear urine indicates adequate hydration. It's important to note that vitamins and herbs can also cause color changes in urine.


The Impact of Body Composition and Aging on Hydration

“The more buff you are (muscle tissue stores more water) the wetter you are. Because women generally have more fat cells, they tend to be a bit drier. Fat cells aren't as moist. The water that lubricates your joints, flushes your waste (I'm talking about pee), assists seminal reproduction, and absorbs shocks to your bones — as you age, the moisturizer in you slowly dwindles” (NPR, 2013). This statement underscores the importance of maintaining adequate hydration throughout our lives, especially as we age and our bodies naturally hold less water.


Practical Tips for Staying Hydrated


  1. Monitor Your Water Intake: Aim for one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.

  2. Choose Water Over Diuretics: Limit the intake of soda and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.

  3. Check Urine Color: Use the color of your urine as a simple indicator of your hydration status.

  4. Hydrate with Foods: Eat water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to help maintain hydration.

  5. Set Reminders: Use reminders to drink water regularly throughout the day.


Conclusion

Water is crucial for maintaining overall health and supporting various bodily functions. By understanding the importance of hydration and implementing practical strategies to stay hydrated, we can ensure our bodies function optimally. Remember, staying hydrated is not just about drinking water; it’s about making conscious choices to support your body’s needs every day.

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