By Dr. Willie T. Ong
Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Just look at the facts: The brain contains 74% water, blood contains 83% water, lean muscle has 75% and bone has 22% water.. Experts agree that water is one of the most powerful forms of treatment. So how come most people don't drink enough water?
10 Health Benefits of Water:
1. Water prevents kidney stones. The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Since water dissolves the substances that form stones in the urine, drinking 12 glasses daily helps treat kidney stones.
2. Water treats urinary tract infection. The more water you drink, the more you will urinate. "Drinking lots of water will help flush out harmful bacteria from your bladder," says Medical City kidney specialist Dr. Roberto Tanchanco.
3. Water helps patients with diarrhea by preventing dehydration. As a first-aid for diarrhea, you can make your own oral rehydration solution at home. Mix a glass of water with 2 teaspoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt, and drink as much as you can tolerate. This is similar to the dextrose solution in the hospital.
4. Water helps reduce fever. For symptoms of flu, water can help lower your body temperature when you urinate the "heat" out of your body. If you're sick, drink more water for you to recover faster.
5. Water helps treat cough and colds, sore throat, and respiratory infections. Water helps loosen sticky phlegm. A respected lung specialist told me that some mucolytics out there are just as beneficial as drinking lots of water.
6. Water reduces heartburn. Taking 2-3 gulps of water every 20 minutes or so can help flush the stomach acid away. Bananas and water are effective alternatives to taking antacids. Try it.
7. Water prevents constipation and its complications. Too little water can harden the stools and lead to hemorrhoids and diverticulosis, a disease of the large bowel. Drink water and eat lots of vegetables to soften your stools.
8. Water keeps you alert and energetic. If you're dehydrated, your blood is literally thicker. This makes it harder for the blood to circulate. As a result, the brain can become less active and you can feel confused and fatigued. Some studies also show that water may help cure migraine headaches.
9. Water helps reduce weight. By drinking a glass or two of water before a meal, you will lessen the amount of food you can take in order to feel full. Water has zero calories and will not make you fat.
10. Water keeps your skin soft and radiant. Just as a dehydrated person will have deep-set eyes and wrinkled skin, so will a fully hydrated person exhibit a normal and beautiful skin tone.
The Correct Way To Drink Water:
1. Drink water when you wake up. Your body loses water while you sleep, so drink a glass before you go to sleep, and another glass when you wake up. You are naturally thirsty or dehydrated in the morning. Drinking water in the morning helps flush out the toxins that have accumulated all night.
2. Drink 8 to 12 glasses a day. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 120-pound individual needs 8 cups of water a day, while a 190-pound person would require 12 cups daily. Dr. Robert Tanchanco says that we should monitor our urine color and keep it on the light side. However, drink only a maximum of 16 glasses a day, and not more.
3. Drink little by little throughout the day. It is preferable to sip water throughout the day rather than to drink two glasses all at once. This will lessen the stress on the heart (especially if you have heart disease) and give your body more time to absorb it.
4. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, you're probably already 2 glasses below your normal water needs. Elderly people are also less sensitive to the body's need for water.
5. Drink water, not soft drinks, alcohol or coffee. Some experts believe that tea, sodas and coffee can be potentially dehydrating. Moreover, the high phosphorus and sugar content in cola drinks can lead to conditions like osteoporosis and diabetes. One study shows that adults who drank six cups of coffee daily experienced mild dehydration. Drinking alcohol is much worse because it actually dehydrates you by making you urinate a lot.
6. Train children to drink water. Set a good example to your kids and drink water together. Make sure that children drink enough water when they're active. Pack a large bottled water in their lunch box.
7. Drink more when it's hot. People living in hot climates like the Philippines need to drink more water. They are more prone to develop kidney stones compared to those living in cooler regions.
8. Drink more as you exercise. When you exercise, you need to drink more water to compensate for fluid loss. Go for an extra 500 ml of water for a 30-minute to 1-hour exercise. Eating a banana also helps keep your potassium up.
9. Drink more when you're sick. Even though you don't feel like it, you really need to drink more water to help your body recover from various infections. If you're dehydrated, you'll feel much worse.
10. Drink more if you're pregnant. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 10 cups of fluids daily and women who breast-feed take in about 13 cups of fluids a day.