Water as a Nutrient

 

If water is something you rarely think about, you are not alone It is seldom considered a nutrient. Water is the most valuable and necessary nutrient for the proper operation of the human body.  2/3s of the human body is water and 2/3 of this water is inside the millions of cells in the body. For example muscles which appear to be solid are three fourths water, fat on the other hand has very little water trapped in its cells. The remaining one third is outside the cells in blood plasma, lymph and other body fluids.  Water is a vital link to life.  Without it life cannot survive.

What are some of the functions of water?

 

  1. Water serves as the body’s transportation system. It is the medium by which other nutrients and essential elements are distributed throughout the body. Without this transport of supplies the body factory would stop. Water also works as the transport for body waste removal.
  2. Water is a lubricant. The presence of water in and around body tissues helps defend the body against shock. The brain, eyes and spinal cord are among the body’s sensitive structures that depend on a protective water layer.

Water is present in the mucous and salivary juices of our digestive systems. This is especially important for moving food through the digestive tract. Persons who experience reduced salivary output soon will realize that foods taste differently and are harder to swallow. As a lubricant, water also is helpful for smooth movement of bone joints.

  1. Water participates in the body’s biochemical reactions. The digestion of protein and carbohydrates to usable and absorbable forms depends on water as part of the chemical reaction.
  2. Water regulates body temperature. Our health and well-being are dependent on keeping body temperature within a very narrow range. The human body, which is made of 60-75 percent water, serves this function quite well. Water itself changes temperature slowly and is able to help regulate body temperature by serving as a good heat storage material.

Evaporation of water from body surfaces also helps cool the body. Sweat loss that is barely noticeable occurs every day and night. Individuals may lose up to a pint of water each day in this manner. In hot, humid weather or during exercise, increased sweating and losses of water are more visible.

What are water sources?

Water comes from a variety of sources.  All beverages are a source of water. Juice and milk have a high percentage of water, but they also contain calories. Caffeinated beverages such as sodas and regular coffee should be avoided, as caffeine actually causes the body to lose water. The same goes for alcohol.

Solid foods contain water too. Lettuce, celery and other crisp vegetables are composed of 90 percent or more water. Protein-rich foods such as meat, fish or chicken may contain as much as half to two-thirds their weight in water. Even grain products, which don’t seem watery at all, may be up to one-third water.

Fats, such as butter or margarine, and sugar are among the foods that contain the least water.

Some water, perhaps one to two cups per day, comes from inside our bodies as a by- product of energy metabolism. This amount is small but significant.

It is important to be aware of fluid intake. Even though solid food is a source of water, additional water from drinking fluids is needed. Besides plain water, juices, milk or other beverages boost fluid intake.

You have a choice whether your fluid is simply water or an energy-rich beverage that may or may not contain other nutrients. Base this selection on your need for extra calories/and or additional nutrients.

It’s very important to drink enough water daily as regular water consumption is the only way that your body can eliminate concentrated toxins from your cells. Whether cleansing or not, a deficiency of water, dehydration, can have deleterious effects on your body, possibly leading to failing health and in extreme circumstances death. Few of us are close to that stage of water loss, but if you are experiencing heartburn, rheumatoid pain, back pain, heart or angina pain, headaches, or leg pain from walking, you may be suffering from chronic dehydration.

Studies have shown that joint movement is greatly facilitated by water. The cartilage lining in your joints need fluid to create a cushion between your bones. Without sufficient water, an inflammatory process can develop to compensate for the lack of water. It may appear that there is an infection or arthritis in your joints, when in reality, there is only dehydration. This occurs frequently in elderly persons as many people of increasing years drink very little water daily due to other concerns such as bloating, water retention, and kidney problems.

Conditions such as Hypertension or high blood sugar can be helped by optimal water consumption.  One major cause of blood volume loss is insufficient body water. When there is inadequate volume in your blood stream, the vessels selectively decrease in diameter to compensate for water loss .

Cutting back on water consumption is the wrong course of action for these problems as other more serious complications can result from a lack of water consumption. The correct course of action would be to drink an appropriate amount of fluids a day and to treat the causes of the specific ailment in an appropriate way.

Each day water losses are balanced with water intake. The body has a sophisticated system that works to maintain water balance. Few of us ever experience malfunctioning of this system. Thirst is a trigger that reminds us to take in more water. At the same time our kidneys regulate urinary output.

What is the daily requirement?

Water is lost from the body daily to eliminate certain waste products.  Typical water loss is about two quarts or more of water each day.  Water losses in urine account for about three-fourths of daily losses.  Remaining losses come from sweat, and through feces.  Infrequent urination or dark yellow urine may be an indication you could use more fluid intake each day.

The daily requirement for fluid is dependent on the individual’s physical activity, age state of health and body size. However, under normal circumstances adults may drink up to six to eight glasses fluid, mostly water each daily.  For both young children and older folks water intake should be monitored. Children are usually very active and don’t often notice that they are thirsty. Children, dehydrate more readily than adults, have lower sweating capacity as adults and they tolerate high temperature less efficiently.

Additionally, vomiting and severe diarrhea in infants and young children quickly lead to water dehydration. Drinking plain water instead of juices to quench to quench thirst is an excellent habit for our children to learn. Older folks may be at increased risk for dehydration because the thirst mechanism may not be as efficient as at younger ages.  The influence of medications and the presence of disease are other factors that affect fluid intake and water balance.

What about athletes?

Of all nutritional concerns for athletes, the most critical is adequate water intake. The athlete’s immediate need for water is to control body temperature and to cool working muscles.

Lack of water, above all other nutrients, has the ability to hinder performance and lead to serious complications. For example, fluid loss of two to three percent of body weight by sweating impairs performance. Fluid losses of seven to 10 percent of body weight result in heat stroke and death.

Two to three percent fluid loss in a 150 pound individual represents three to four and a half pounds of body weight or one and a half to two quarts lost water. Marathon runners and other long distance athletes may lose up to three quarts (or six pounds) of sweat per hour.

To prevent dehydration during exercise, athletes should drink fluids before, during and after activity in moderation.

For Outdoor workers 

The combination of hot, humid temperature and physical activity places outdoor workers at special risk for water balance. Anyone who works or plays hard outside, especially in hot weather, needs to keep water handy.

Sipping throughout the work period is better than saving up for scheduled meals or breaks.

Can you drink too much water?

The answer to that is yes.  There is a condition known as water intoxication or hyponatremia.  It is usually associated with long distance events like running and cycling.  What happens is that as the athlete consumes large amounts of water over the course of the event, blood plasma ( the liquid part of blood) increases.  As this takes place, the salt content of the blood is diluted.  At the same time, the athlete is losing salt by sweating.  Consequently, the amount of salt available to the body tissues decreases overtime to a point where the loss interferes with brain, heart, and muscle function.

Symptoms generally mirror those of dehydration that is apathy, confusion, nausea and fatigue, although some individuals show no symptoms at all.  If left untreated, hyponatremia can lead to coma and even death.

Among other things there are some myths concerning water.  Don’t be misled if a pregnant woman drinks a large amount of milk, fruit juice, ice water or other non alcoholic beverages, this will not cause her baby to become fair complexioned, as some believe, neither can she drown her unborn baby b drinking too much liquid.

Water never accumulates in the body of a healthy person. Nor does drinking water, especially iced water, makes a person fat or raise the blood pressure.  It is never a bad idea to drink extra water. It’s a healthy practice.

In closing water consumption is one of the single most important task we must practice in order to live a long and healthy life

Proper breathing has profound effects on our health.  It is said that over 70 percent of waste by-products are eliminated through our breathing and our skin. When our blood is heavily oxygenated it becomes very difficult for virus and bacteria to grow.”

Slow, deep breathing can lower blood pressure, end heart irregularities, improve poor digestion and decrease anxiety.

Hello and welcome to Healing The Spirit Our topic The Best Way To Breathe

Everyone knows instinctively how to breathe but few of us do it properly. We come into the world as good breathers; babies inhale and exhale from their abdomens. Breathing deeply, which allows the abdomen to expand, brings into the lungs the amount of oxygen needed to nourish all the cells in the body.

But over time, stress causes our muscles to tighten up and our respiration rate to quicken. Most of us become thoracic breathers, using only the middle and upper parts of the lungs.

The path to better breathing is just a breath away. Here is a simple technique to produce more efficient breathing.

Lay down on the floor, and place a book on your abdomen. Breathe deeply, allowing your abdomen to expand. Watch the book move up and down. Now sit up, and try the same thing without the book. Some experts suggest that everyone should take a break several times a day and take three deep abdominal breaths.

“Breathing is key,”  “All emotions are stored in the body. Breathing is a catalyst. The breath work helps to bring up and release emotional traumas.”

So start practicing proper breathing today it will do you a whole of good.


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