Fueling Up on Water
It's our body's vital fuel, a health drink from mother nature.
It's calorie-free, inexpensive and easily obtained. Yet few
people follow the old fashioned advice to drink eight glasses
of water a day.
Most people drink when they are thirsty, but the beverage
of choice tends to be some other drink besides water. Americans
drink two or three glasses of plain water a day, according
to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey conducted in the
late 1970. Based on an analysis of all fluid intake by adults,
it is said to total about two quarts of water a day, and this
includes water from foods and from other beverages. It's not
usually necessary to actually swallow two quarts of plain
water every day. However, people with special problems such
as kidney conditions might be exceptions.
Americans drink eight gallons of bottled water a year, roughly
two ounces or a quarter-cup a day, according to the International
Bottled Water Association. Californians drink three times
the national average of bottled water, downing 24 gallons
a year, or nearly a cup a day. Climate and seasons of the
year play a role in one's thirst also, and just as we tend
to perspire more in the summer months, we also tend to drink
more water. Boosting intake of plain water makes good sense,
many experts concur, because water eases digestion and regulates
Water also bathes the cells and accounts for about 60 percent
of body weight. And it can help us exercise longer and more
efficiently. Drinking water can ward off constipation and
maybe even crankiness. An since it's a natural appetite suppressant,
water can help us lose weight and keep it off. It can help
keep skin healthy, although it won't necessarily banish acne.
Who should drink water? We all should, but pregnant women,
nursing mothers and athletes should be especially careful
to drink a sufficient amount. When it is hot or humid, upping
water intake is also wise. There are certain workers who seem
to have a more difficult time developing the water-drinking
habit. Among those who don't normally drink enough water are
teachers, airline attendants and nurses.
Drinking fluids, particularly, water, during exercise reduces
cardiovascular stress and improves performance. After a strenuous
workout, you have to replace the fluids you have lost. Otherwise,
you will suffer chronic dehydration. Drink water before, during
and after exercising, and remember that water reduces body
temperature thus making the whole exercise process safer.
Water can be especially helpful for people with a history
of kidney stones because it dissolves calcium in the urine,
reducing the risk of stone formation. Among physicians, urologists
are probably most likely to extol the virtues of water, And
it has been documented that drinking water mostly before 6
P.M. can reduce the likelihood of nocturnal bathroom visits.
It is interesting to note also that water helps prevent
urinary tract infections, both for men and for women. Too
busy to count how many glasses a day you drink? There are
other ways to calculate if your intake is sufficient. Dark-colored
urine often suggest you aren't drinking enough water. Get
into the habit by starting with a glass of water with every
meal, then work in a cup between meals.