Think for a moment about a houseplant that droops when it hasn’t been watered. Water is essential for it to thrive and the human body is no different.
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- The human body is about 70 to 80 percent water. When we don’t drink eight to ten cups of water each day, our muscles don’t work as well, our digestive process is affected, and our mental capacity is diminished. Only about one-third of Americans drink the recommended daily amount of water, 28 percent drink two or fewer cups per day, and almost 10 percent drink no water at all. Most people aren’t drinking enough water, but they may not realize the effects of dehydration.
- Water has an important function in regulating the body temperature, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, removing waste, cushioning joints, and protecting organs and tissues. Without proper hydration, the body is exposed to a variety of health risks affecting blood pressure, circulation, digestion, kidney function, and nearly all body functions. Dehydration can lead to headaches, indigestion, dry skin, poor muscle tone, joint pain, and general toxicity.
- The body loses about ten to twelve cups of water each day, even during sleep, so it’s essential to replace the lost fluid. Water leaves the body during normal respiration, in sweat, and body wastes. By the time we recognize thirst signals, we’re already becoming dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is to simply drink water. Try jazzing it up with lemon, lime, or a dash of fruit juice if plain water is unappealing.
- Foods high in water content can help, such as fresh fruits and vegetables – lettuce, radishes, celery, cabbage, watermelon, broccoli, beets, collards, and string beans.
- Avoid beverages such as tea, coffee and soft drinks. Caffeine, a diuretic, depletes the body of water.