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Compassion

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Did You Know ~ Water

With summer just around the corner and home from our recent trip to Disney – this topic is fresh on my mind. I have to remind myself over and over again that most people just don’t know the truth about dehydration and the importance of drinking water (not soda, coffee or juice) all day long.

Every time I go out my heart breaks for all the toddlers and very young children I see drinking soda instead of water. I see parents drinking diet soda and ice tea – their children say they are thirsty, Mom/Dad hand down their beverage. I truly believe soda should be made illegal just like cigarettes until the age of 18. Then if they choose to drink it knowing how bad it is for them it is their educated choice. There is nothing healthy about drinking soda or any diet drink.
Caffeinated beverages do provide fluid, but the diuretic nature of caffeine can actually limit your body’s ability to absorb and digest water. Consequently, you should try to limit caffeinated beverages from your diet. If plain water becomes boring after a while, sprucing it up with a spritz of lime or lemon juice to add flavor without adding calories, excess sugar or toxins/chemicals.

Do you know how much water your body uses every night while you sleep? Do you know how much water the human body needs every day for optimal health? Do you know that our bodies are made up of over 70% water? Do you know that at birth you are 90% water and at death you are less than 50%?

Did you ever stop to think about what we are composed of? The answer is mainly water; our eyes are 95% water, our Brain 75% water, our Heart 75% water, our Lungs 86% water, and our Blood, which is 83% water. The human body itself is 70% water! Every cell in every living thing contains H2O – water!

And somewhere between birth and death, we become dehydrated- we've accepted as normal somewhere around 70%. So anything above 70% is good, but ideal is moving more towards 90%. I think that's what makes babies so supple. You know, you touch their skin and it's soft, it's pliable, it's supple. This is because the skin is hydrated. And we lose that over time from dehydration. You want younger looking skin – simply drink more water.
Take a close look at what water does inside your body and you'll discover it:
  • Aids in proper digestion
  • Improves oxygen delivery
  • Removes toxins and waste products
  • Transports nutrients and increases nutrient absorption
  • Cushions and lubricates joints
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Generates Cellular energy
  • Improves immune function

You can gain amazing health benefits from a steady dose of 9 glasses of purified water a day:

  • Vastly improves your energy
  • Sharpens your mental and physical performance
  • Gradually improves your skin's appearance and reduces wrinkles
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and depression
  • Reduces headaches and dizzy spells
  • Supports hearth health. According to a 6 year study of more than 20,000 healthy men and women aged 38-100 published in the May 1 2002, American Journal of Epidemiology, women who drank more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from heart attack than those who drank less than 2 glasses. The heart benefits were even greater in men.
  • May relieve symptoms of asthma, allergies and arthritis.
Maintaining an adequate level of hydration is essential for efficient regulation of your body's normal physiological functions.
As you can imagine, if your brain is not properly hydrated, your thinking ability becomes dull, you have trouble making the best decisions and your potential for headaches and dizziness increases. This is what I believe causes so many learning challenges in schools across America. Children are simply dehydrated. They are not drinking anything for almost 8 hours each day. Then they come home and don’t drink enough water either. The brain needs water to function properly. Before going to school each day have your children drink one full glass of water. Send a water bottle to school with a note asking the teacher to allow your child to drink water throughout the day. Many schools are against this because children are asking to go the bathroom and disrupting their teaching. Without going to the bathroom our bodies store up toxins that the kidneys and liver are working to get rid of.

Your liver breaks down fats, so when it's below its hydration mark, your digestive system experiences a chain reaction of imbalances. Being dehydrated is a vicious cycle that affects the entire body.

Not to mention children who participate in any sports activity. Their bodies have been dehydrated all day and then they go full force into a game, gymnastics, ballet, etc. It is no wonder many suffer from complete exhaustion during and after their activity.

As you make a daily effort to drink enough water, your body will undoubtedly thank you by staying healthier and naturally regulating your appetite. You will feel better and stay trimmer while keeping your vital organs clean and replenished. Indeed, drinking the right amount of water for you each day is one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective ways to keep you and your body happy, healthy, and productive. Note: When you first begin to drink the proper amount of water your body will take some time to adjust and you will use the bathroom more. Then as the body regulates and is using the water it needs to keep you healthy the need to go to the bathroom as often will subside.

It's a sultry summer day, and your body is begging for liquid. You could reach for a glass of water or opt for a great slice of watermelon! It's sweet, succulent, the color of the sunrise, and 97 percent water. The high content of water makes watermelons very beneficial when used in weight loss programs, as they give us the impression of satiety, but have a reduced number of calories. But besides water, melons are laden with vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, lycopen, iron, zinc, potassium and other nutritive minerals - which makes them twice as efficient in all kinds of diets, as they help us lose weight or stay fit and also give the body all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to continue functioning in an appropriate manner.
Also, due to the amount of water contained, they are frequently used for body detoxification processes, as the water from melons purifies the body of all waste and then is partially eliminated through urine. This also helps in "cleaning" our kidneys.

It's not just the heat. Women need about 2.5 liters or 9.5 cups of fluid daily (depending on weight – the more you weigh the more water you need to intake) --men require about 12.5 cups--just to replace what's naturally lost to perspiration, exhalation and, when you use the bathroom. However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be careful to increase their overall water intake to provide enough fluid for the dependent fetus or infant. Expectant women should increase their daily water intake to 10-11 cups a day, while breastfeeding women should be drinking about 13 cups per day.

Think about it like this: what do your plants look like if they are under watered? We are no different. Don’t wait until your body begins showing signs of thirst. Hydrate. Start your day with one quart (32 ounces) of water to flush your digestive tract and re-hydrate your system. Drink one quart before all meals and one quart before bedtime. Always drink before meals.

If you make the right food choices, you likely get about a liter of fluid from what you eat. Atop the list of juicy foods are fruits and vegetables: Grocery stores and farmers markets are piled high with cucumbers (97 percent water), tomatoes and zucchini (95 percent), eggplant (92 percent) and peaches (87 percent). Use them in salads, soups and stews to help satisfy your body's thirst; for dessert, try sorbets, or fresh fruit. Indulge in a cocktail of freshly squeezed juice blended with melons for added fiber and micronutrients. Fresh fruit smoothies are a great way to increase water intake and get your recommended 5 servings of fruit.

So what about our toddlers, how much water do they need?
With the summer months quickly approaching, it is imperative to make sure young children stay hydrated and get enough fluids during the day. Many young children love to drink juice and milk, which is great, but water is the best way to stay hydrated. Water is very important for our bodies because it is vital for bodily functions – it carries waste away in urine and allows sweating to cool the body temperature down. Because toddlers are so small and don’t sweat yet, they need a lot of water to replenish the water they lose especially in warm and humid weather. Water is the best source to stay hydrated since it has no empty calories.

One of the most important factors affecting the amount of water you should drink is your age. Children, due to the hydration demands of their growing bodies, should drink a larger amount of water in proportion to their body size than adults. In general, children should be consuming at least six to eight cups of water per day, but water intake should be increased during exercise and long bouts of active play.
How can you tell if your little one is getting enough water? The easiest way you can tell is by the color of their urine. If it is dark yellow that means they are not getting enough water. Ideally their urine should be a very light yellow or clear and odorless. Usually when they say they are thirsty they are already a little partially dehydrated. Young children, however cannot always tell they are thirsty. The early signs that your child is dehydrated include sleepiness and lack of energy, irritability, crying, dry lips or tongue, constipation, sunken eyes or a sunken fontanel – the soft spot on top of the head of newborns. If you are concerned that your young child is dehydrated and are not interested in drinking anything, contact your doctor or pediatrician.

Some other great sources of water include fruits and vegetables such as cantaloupe and apples - which are 85% water; lettuce – which is 95% water and spinach – which is 90% water. For those toddlers who don’t like drinking straight water, mixing water in with their juice is a good solution. Because juices are naturally high in fructose/sugar and not healthy for small children; mixing them 75% water and 25% juice is always a good idea. Another great idea is serving them frozen organic fruit popsicles. Always have a sippy cup of water on hand for your toddler and enjoy the beautiful summer weather!
There are a variety of different types of fruits with a high content of water, including:
Berries - blueberry, raspberry, strawberry
Citrus - grapefruit, lime, lemon, orange, tangerines
Melons - honeydew, rockmelon (cantaloupe), watermelon
Stone - apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, plum
Tropical - mango, papaya, pineapple, banana
Others - apple, grapes, pear, dates, figs
To learn more about the water content and minerals in fruits and vegetables visit here: http://www.thefruitpages.com/contents.shtml

Here is a link of 10 Reasons why we should drink water: All About Water

To keep your body functioning as it should, you should always closely monitor the amount of water you drink. While thirst is certainly a good indicator of your body’s need for water, you may already be slightly dehydrated by the time you experience thirst. A good rule for keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day is to drink one glass of water before each meal and one between each meal.

Regardless of the amount of activity, it is important to remember to drink water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration and fatigue.

Heat and humidity affect the amount of water you need to drink each day by causing you to perspire more. In humid climates and during the hot summer months in any climate, you should increase your daily intake of water to compensate for extra fluid loss. Two cups more per day for both men and women should suffice, but you should be careful to drink more if you notice any swelling of the skin caused by heat. Please remember do NOT leave water bottles in the car during the warm months. The toxins leach from the plastic into the water. Keep in a cooler or bring with you.

    Please see our Did You Know ~ disclaimer here.

    6 comments:

    Annette said...

    I agree with most of what you wrote! (I don't think it's necessary to make soda banned till age 18, but parents do give it too freely.) I don't drink enough water (or anything else), but I water is what I drink the most of. We rarely buy soda...mostly just for overnight company. For three people, we drink three gallons of milk per week...and lots of water.

    My 2 year old gets 20 oz of milk per day, 3-4 oz of juice, and the rest is water. We limit her milk due to digestive issues...

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kelly said...

    That is a great post! I notice with myself if I dont get enough water my skin is more wrinkly and dried out looking and I crave sweets more.

    With my kids (3 and 1.5) they only drink milk at meal times and water all the rest of the day. I dont ever give them juice -thats what Grandma is for :)- and I certainly dont ever give them soda or tea or coffee or whatever Im drinking. I find they eat better at meal times too.

    joyceandnorm said...

    I know what you mean. Personally, water is my beverage of choice. There's something refreshing about it. My daughter's (2yo) favorites are water and milk. I rarely even give her juice, and if I do, it's like 2 oz mixed with water...sometimes less. We were at our friends' for dinner and they were asking if our daughter has had soda, and I said no, and the wife was laughing saying that their son (5 months younger) hadn't either.....except sparkling cider which was the husband's favorite. During dinner he had that and 7up...not sure if they noticed that we noticed. People are surprised that I actually get the recommended 8 cups each day...some don't believe it. It's a tough habit to pick up if you are used to drinking coffee, tea, milk, etc all day...Commercials/ads get us to remember to drink milk (which is important too), but everyone forgets about water. Anyhow, thanks for the post.

    Natalie said...

    I totally agree about the soda stuff. Mine have never tasted it and we'll wait as long as we can. But, I always hear parents say, "oh, sprite is ok because it doesn't have any caffeine." Nevermind the gobs of sugar it has.

    We are water people especially since I gave up diet sodas for Lent. I won't be going back to my habit.

    Heather said...

    Jill,
    Thanks for explaining this all so well. I feel convicted (in a good way). Water is a major struggle in my home. I HATE water. It's boring and doesn't do anything in my mouth. I'm very adicted to Coca Cola, I get headaches without it. I always dillute the kids juice, but I think they probobly are still not getting enough. They don't like water either and I've accomidated their feelings because I can relate. Thanks for your post. I will begin to set an example in my home and lead my kids toward healthier drinking habits. Pass the tylenol. :)

    babygirl said...

    thank you for this post, i myself didnt know how important it really was until now.
    i was raised on drinking soda pop and juice and milk my parents never showed me that it was important to drink water so as a mom of two and reading your post i now know.
    i love your blogs keep up the good work