The Effects of Water on the Body

Positive Effects of Water on the Body

In a market saturated with specialty coffees, soft drinks, sports drinks and energy boosters, plain water often loses its luster. As crucial as water is, it seems the majority of the population is in a dehydrated rut.

The need for water can hardly be overstated. As humans, we are composed between 55 and 75 percent water (lean people have more water in their bodies because muscle holds more water than fat), is in need of constant water replenishment, and according to a number of doctors, drinking a total of eight glasses of water a day fulfills the necessary requirement of this liquid our body demands. Water makes up much of the medium that helps our cells communicate with each other.

Your lungs expel between two and four cups of water each day through normal breathing – even more on a cold day. If your feet sweat, there goes another cup of water. If you make half a dozen trips to the bathroom during the day, that’s six cups of water. If you perspire, you expel about two cups of water (which doesn’t include exercise-induced perspiration).

A person would have to lose 10 percent of her body weight in fluids to be considered dehydrated, but as little as two percent can affect athletic performance, cause tiredness and dull critical thinking abilities. Adequate water consumption can help lessen the chance of kidney stones, keep joints lubricated, prevent and lessen the severity of colds and flu and help prevent constipation. While it’s a fact we can only survive a few days at best without water, is eight glasses a day really necessary? The answer depends on many factors, including:

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]Do you drink a lot of coffee or soft drinks?

Coffee can act as a diuretic, which means it may increase urination. “A lot” of coffee in this case would be defined as 3 or more 6-ounce cups a day. Regular or diet soft drinks pose many health issues. Those drinking multiple cans of pop a day may not be getting enough water.

One of the biggest problems those who drink high volumes of coffee or soft drinks run into, is that those beverages eventually replace water as the daily form of hydration. Again, coffee is a diuretic. So excessive amounts of coffee can actually worsen the water balance in the body. If this situation goes on long enough, patients could encounter nagging pains that don’t respond to conventional therapy.[/box]

Water is crucial to your health. Every system in your body depends on water.

What type of water is best?

These days, there is bottled water, flavored water, vitamin water and of course, tap water. The best source for drinking and cooking, is water filtered through a reverse osmosis system. This is a very high grade filter that can be installed under your kitchen sink by a local water company. Any other form of regular water, tap or bottled, is still better than a soda. Vitamin and specialty waters can become a problem due to added sugars. Others promise extra vitamins when in fact they contain very few. In truth, water doesn’t need to provide anything other than water. It’s important enough.
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Negative Effects

Contaminated water poses a serious health risk to you and your family. The most widespread problems with water cause devastating health problems:

Water

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  • High levels of lead in water have been linked to lower IQs in children.
  • The poison arsenic may be in water drawn from wells. It harms nerves, the heart, blood vessels, and skin. It has also been linked to several cancers.
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs) – including chloroform – are byproducts of chlorination that are suspected of causing several cancers, including bladder cancer.
  • Presence of total coliform may indicate that potentially harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) is present.
  • Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes a sometimes severe and life-threatening diarrheal disease. It is one of the most common causes of waterborne disease (drinking and recreational) in the U.S.

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Contaminated water poses serious health risks not just to your family, but also to your pets. Remember, they drink, are bathed in, and/or swim in your water as well. Your plants will also suffer from the effects of contaminated water.
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Think you’d know if your water was unsafe? Consider these facts:

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  • According to the EPA, the 42 million consumers who get drinking water from a well should test it at least annually.
  • A Consumer Confidence Report may state on its first page that your drinking water is safe even if there are violations. (These will listed much further on.)
  • While within ‘safe’ limits, levels of some contaminants may be harmful for vulnerable populations – pregnant women, fetuses, infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems (e.g. those with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy).
  • While your water may be considered safe on average, it actually can experience potentially harmful spikes in the levels of contaminants, e.g. from seasonal elevations.
  • Even if water in your area really is safe, this doesn’t guarantee that there are no problems in your particular home. For example, lead or galvanized water piping in old homes and lead-based solder used on copper pipes or in faucets in new homes may contaminate water coming into your home.

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There is a solution to contaminated water!

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  • Boiling the water unfortunately won’t remove contaminants. In fact, it may make your water more concentrated with contaminants: it’s the water that gets boiled off, while the contaminants remain.
  • Bottled water isn’t necessarily safer than tap water. The water that goes into the bottles isn’t regulated as well as tap water is – the source of the water and what’s been filtered out of it is often not reported. Also, the plastic bottles the water is stored in may leave unhealthy residues in the water.

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