Health News from Senior Healthcare Advisors
By Dr. Marilyn B. Field
Water is essential to all life — every system in the human body depends on it. Water helps rid toxins from bodily organs, carry nutrients to our cells, and keeps our nose, ears, and throat moist. Without drinking enough water, we become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and confusion.
We lose water on a daily basis by sweating, breathing, and urinating. So we are constantly losing water. Our intake of water has to replace what we lose. When your water intake does not equal your output, dehydration can occur. We tend to lose fluids during strenuous exercise, in warmer climates, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2022) determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men.
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
We get water from more than just drinking fluids; it is a major ingredient of many foods.
Foods containing a lot of water add volume, and can make you feel full, but add only minimal calories to your diet. Fruits and vegetables are two food groups that have generally high water content. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products like milk and yogurt can help you reach your daily water recommendations.
Vegetables high in water include: Carrots, bell peppers, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach
Fruits high in water include: Watermelon, citrus fruits, grapes, apples, papaya, strawberries, apricots, cherries
Health Benefits of Drinking Water
Enhances your mood. Dehydration can affect your mood and lead to fatigue. Balance your mood by drinking more water. You can usually tell if you are drinking enough water by the degree of darkness in the hue of your urine. The lighter the color of your urine, the better your level of hydration. Next time you feel a bit cranky, sip some cool water..
Helps With Headaches and Migraines: Dehydration can also cause tension headaches which can also hinder your mood. When you become dehydrated your brain slightly shrinks, because it needs plenty of water to function. So, it comes as no surprise that a headache is sure to follow. Next time you experience a migraine or headache, try resting your eyes and sipping down some cool water.
Aids in Constipation and Digestion: Drinking more water can actually prevent constipation. When you're dehydrated, your body pulls water from your stool so it can maintain hydration, resulting in harder stool. Warm water is excellent for digestive health, as it breaks down foods and improves digestion. Smaller, more frequent meals and more water consumption are easier on digestion.
Helps with Weight Loss: Sometimes, we can confuse being hungry with being thirsty. Drinking 8 ounces of water can help to curb your appetite. Water not only fills you up, but it boosts your metabolism, raising the rate that your body burns fat by breaking down fat cells. Juices, teas, coffees, and sodas have loads of hidden calories, so stick to mainly drinking water if you're trying to lose weight.
Physical Benefits of Drinking Water
Carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells.
Flushing bacteria from your bladder.
Normalizing blood pressure.
Stabilizing the heartbeat.
Protecting organs and tissues (Harvard Health. 2022).
What is alkaline water?
There has been much talk lately about the various health benefits of drinking alkaline water. Some say that by regulating your body's pH level, you can slow the aging process and prevent chronic diseases, such as cancer.
So, why all the hype?
Alkaline water refers to your water’s pH level. pH levels are numbers that measure how alkaline or acidic a fluid is on a scale of 0 to 14. For instance, a fluid with a pH of 2 would be highly acidic, whereas, a pH of 12 would be very alkaline.
Because alkaline water has a higher pH than ordinary drinking water, some alkaline water advocates think it can neutralize the acids in your body. Everyday drinking water usually carries a pH of 7, and alkaline water is usually around a pH of 9. But, to be alkaline water, it must also contain negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP) and alkaline minerals. The higher in the negative the ORP, the more antioxidizing it is.
According to WebMD (2021), “Orange juice has a pH of 3.3 and black coffee is about 5. Pure water has a neutral pH of 7. But tap water in the U.S. tends to fall below that -- in the 4.3 to 5.3 range -- depending on where you live.”
While more in-depth studies are needed regarding the benefits of Alkaline water, some recent research indicated the following benefits:
Anti-aging properties (via liquid antioxidants that absorb more quickly into the human body)
Immune system support
Hydration, skin health, and other detoxifying properties
4 Tips to Help You Drink More
Have a beverage with every meal and snack.
Choose healthy beverages you enjoy drinking; that way you’ll drink more liquids if you like the way they taste. Limit your intake of sodas and caffeinated beverages.
Eat more vegetables and fruits. Their high water content will help to hydrate you. About 20% of our water intake comes from food.
Keep a bottle of water with you at your desk, in your bag, and in the car.