An Essential Ingredient: Water

As seniors know by now, water is an essential ingredient for good health.  All chemical reactions need water to occur.  Water regulates body temperature, protects body organs and tissues, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, acts as a vehicle to expel waste, and helps to form the structure of protein and glycogen molecules. 

All dehydration, particularly chronic or long-term dehydration, has been linked to many life-threatening health outcomes which include the following: falls and fractures among the senior population, increased risk of heat stroke  during heat waves, heart disease, bronchopulmonary disorders (a lung disease the primarily affects newborns), kidney disease, urolithiasis, bladder and colon cancer, urinary tract infections, constipation, decreased salivation, tooth decay, decreased immunity, and cataract formation or sight problems.  Simply put, we need our water!

How Does Water Help Me?

One of the best studies to date on the effects of adequate daily water consumption was conducted by the Adventist Health Study and included 20,000 subjects.  

The group that drank over 5 cups of water per day were 50% less likely to coronary heart disease than the group that drank 2 or less cups of water per day.

Why 8 Cups?

The 8-cup per day recommendation began with a single 1920's published paper in which the author, Edward F. Adolph, measured only his own water expenditure.  He concluded that approximately 8 cups would replenish the lost stores of water one experience per day.

Then, after much analysis of data, medical authorities in Europe, the US Institute of Medicine, and the World Health Organization (WHO) finally advised 4-7 cups per day for women, and 6-11 cups per day for men (plus food and other drinks).

Whish is Better, Bottled or Tap Water?

The answer may surprise you.  A 2014 study, published in Public Health Nutrition, analyzed the water from 35 bottled water companies and found that bottled water did not guarantee higher quality, safer, or cleaner water than regular tap water.

A good weight loss tip!

Simple Take Home Points

  • Drink 6-10 cups of water every day, primarily pure water
  • Avoid or minimize sodas, caffeinated beverages and fruit juices made from sugary concentrates.
  • Try infusing water with fresh fruit such as strawberries and lemons or fresh herbs such as mint or rosemary.
  • For a hot drink, try herbal tea; e.g. chamomile, mint, rooibos.
  • For a calorie-free sweetener, get a stevia plant.  Pluck and infuse leaves in a small amount of water overnight in the fridge, and use this to sweeten your beverage.

In other words, it is in the best interest of all of us to consider the volume and quality of our daily water intake.  Taking good care of our bodies is worth the effort!

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