Indian Life Newspaper -

Water: the Perfect Beverage

 

Last updated 3/16/2018 at 12:11pm

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The first time anyone ever served me water with a meal, I was in tenth grade and was eating with Judy N's family. I don't remember what we had for supper, but I do remember the water served in crystal glasses. I kept waiting for Judy's mom to bring out the sweet tea or to ask if anyone would like a glass of milk, but that never happened. Judy and I went to high school together in southeast Texas, but her family was from New York. I learned that day that folks do things differently in New York City.

The next time I had water with a meal was . . . let's see now. My memory is fuzzy, probably because I'm not hydrated well enough. I tend to forget things like drinking water, eating breakfast, taking my meds. Confusion and forgetfulness aren't the only symptom associated with chronic dehydration. Fatigue, energy loss, constipation and digestive disorders can occur when we don't have enough fluids. So can high and low blood pressure, gastritis, stomach ulcers, respiratory problems, excess weight, eczema, cystitis, urinary infections, joint pain and the achiness of rheumatism.

If we've regularly failed to drink enough water, we can't expect these symptoms to go away overnight. But the good news is that our health will improve when we start to take better care of ourselves.

Just a little research on water's benefits reveals some startling claims. Having eight to ten glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for most sufferers. Drinking five glasses of water daily decreases the risk of some types of cancer.

Water makes up about 60 percent of our body's weight and our bodies need it on a cellular level. In fact, every one of our body systems depends on water to flush out toxins and to transport nutrients. Being even slightly dehydrated can affect our energy level. Drinking water suppresses the appetite and helps the body metabolize fat. Replacing sugary drinks with water as beverage of choice can also save us money, clear our skin and help us lose weight.

How much water should we drink? If you aren't required to limit your fluid intake because of heart failure or some types of kidney, liver or adrenal diseases, one rule of thumb is to divide your weight by two and then drink that many ounces of water a day. A person weighing 150 pounds would drink 75 ounces of fluids a day.

The Institute of Medicine recommends 3 liters, or 13 cups, of total beverages a day for men, and 2.2 liters, about 9 cups, for women. All fluids count, but not all beverages are as healthy as water. Alcohol dehydrates the body, and those with sugar, like the sweet tea I was raised on, contribute to obesity. Mayo Clinic reminds us that we may need to increase our fluid intake depending on how active we are, our health status and the climate we live in. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids.

A good time for a glass of water is when you think about it, when you're thirsty, when you're tired, or when you're sick. Begin your day with a glass of water. Drink water with meals, between meals and with meds. Take water with you when you're driving in the car. Enjoy a glass of water when you're working at the computer or watching television. If you're working outside in hot or humid conditions and when exercising, you need to especially stay hydrated.

We need water to survive. But we can also improve our health just by drinking more water here and there. It's something to think about. Thanks, Mrs. N.

 
 

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