The human body is a water machine, more liquid than solid, and requires regular replenishing with this magic elixir, in order to survive. We can last 2 – 3 months without food but only 2 – 3 days without water.
Some more numbers: The average adult body is composed of approximately 60% water. This figure increases with levels of physical activity (athletes have a higher percentage) and decreases as we age or increase our body fat, but, unless overtaken by high body fat, water remains the single largest component of this amazing machine.
Our blood is approximately 80% water and flows throughout our body, distributing nutrients, oxygen, and antibodies on demand, and removing carbon dioxide and other waste products. In order for the blood to properly carry out its many critical tasks, the body must be sufficiently hydrated.
Our brain is around 75% water and acts as the major control centre for the processes happening inside our body. This control is maintained by constantly sending and receiving electrical signals throughout the nervous system, which can be seen as an elaborate system of tiny waterways. Water is part of all basic bodily functions, such as digestion, temperature control, joint lubrication, and skin hydration. Each time we exhale, blink our eyes, or make any kind of movement at all, we use up some of the available water in our system. The constant beating of our heart is a water consuming process. And this marvelous body of ours is designed to self repair: each component works in amazing harmony to bond broken bones, regenerate and replace damaged tissue, and attack and destroy hostile organisms. In each of these processes water is an essential component. Water is also what our liver uses to metabolize fat into usable energy.
Drinking an abundance of clean, chemical-free water speeds up our metabolism and allows our body to assimilate nutrients better, resulting in increased strength and energy. In fact a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in most people; a 15% drop causes death! Some estimate that more than 2/3 of us suffer some degree of dehydration and thus operate 25% or more below our capacity. Unfortunately, most people turn to stimulants such as caffeine or sugar, rather than drinking more water. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugar are all strong diuretics and actually cause the body to lose water, resulting in a further loss of natural energy production and eventually leading to a dependency on artificial stimulants.
Our body’s detoxification system is an important component in maintaining optimum health. This process relies heavily on an intake of clean water. The standard recommendation is to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water each day. Certainly in hot climates or in situations where the body is sweating a lot, more water will be necessary.
Drink your water – your clean water: It is a beautifully simple process that can make a tremendous difference to the degree of health we achieve and maintain. It is possibly the best health enhancement habit you can develop and it is so simple: a glass of water every one to two hours. Try it, drink at least 8 glasses of water every day for just one week and you will be amazed at how much better you feel!
Tip for yoga practitioners
Drink water before and after your practice. Take small sips throughout your workout if you need to. If it is really hot, you may wish to have a sports drink instead. Coconut water is nature’s perfect sports drink, but if it’s unrealistic for you to chop open a coconut a couple of times a day, another easy formula is fresh orange juice with a pinch of salt. Orange juice is rich in potassium, a crucial electrolyte that, along with sodium, is easily lost through perspiration. So add a pinch of salt to your OJ and you’ve got your own homemade sports drink.