While much of the water that covers our planet is not usable to humans, it’s interesting to know that just like our physical make-up, our planet contains 70 percent water.
In the context of medicine, the balance of water is about how much is found inside and outside our cells. Water balance is not just about “how many glasses of water have I drank today?”
While a bit more complicated, the real importance of the water balance in our bodies is the key to our general well being.
The water inside our cells, participates in a multitude of tasks like manufacturing energy, detoxification, immune boosting, and other life-defining issues for our organs.
Outside the cells, water is the main ingredient of blood and lymph that carry and deliverer crucial nutrients and oxygen to every cell making up every organ in our body.
How that water is distributed determines how well we function and feel. I don’t want to bore you with medical school data but I am convinced the more information a person has, the more awareness they have of themselves and their surroundings, the more likely they are to make the right choices in their life.
Sixty percent of our total body weight is made of water. Fact is, the amount of body water decreases as we age and when we are sick or significantly overweight. Of note, 2/3 of body water is inside our cells which makes it difficult to manipulate the balance by drinking a few extra glasses of water.
It’s the 1/3 that is outside the cells that is easy to address when we are trying to keep healthy, detoxify our systems, or just lose some unwanted pounds by flushing them out with extra water.
Body water is regulated by hormones. I know my saying this comes as no shock to you but, in fact, when a patient comes to the Age Management Institute we always do a non-invasive test called body composition to help us calculate body content and water distribution.
The results affect the type and amount of hormones the patient needs. You see, when you are young and full of hormones in balance, every cell that makes up every organ in the body is young too. They are plump and glistening with water. Just like our skins that are devoid of wrinkles and well hydrated, the signs of youth cannot be mistaken.
With the aging process and the loss of water due to disease, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, exposure to pollution, and eating all the wrong foods, the amount of water in our cells decreases and we no longer look or feel so great.
While we have tons of creams, hormones, and certainly plastic surgery to help us look better, we can also stave off the aging process by adjusting the amount and type of water we consume. Try these tips:
• Stop drinking soda, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol. They are dehydrating substances that leave our cells, organs, and faces drained and aging.
• Increase the amount of clear, spring water.
• Stay away from water in plastic containers (they may leech chemicals)
• Check your well water for contaminants.
• Use a charcoal-based water purifier in your refrigerator.
• Drink eight to 10 glasses of a water a day. It helps the water balance between the cells.
• Room temperature water is best. It may protect you from a heart attack.
• Drink green tea. It is a great antioxidant that cleanses your system and flushes out impurities of daily life.
• Eat fruit and vegetables. They contain lots of water that enters the cells and keeps the balance between intra-cellular and extra-cellular water.
• Eat protein. Whether it is animal, fish, seafood, or vegetable (beans, tofu), it keeps water tucked into your cells. Making high-quality protein a main dietary ingredient keeps us looking and feeling young.
• Sleep seven to eight hours a night. That is when our hormones are manufactured and they will keep the water balance healthy for decades.
• Take bioidentical hormones. At the latest conference of the International Menopause Society in Rome (June 2011) key opinion leaders and scientists concluded unequivocally that estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone will help you stay healthy and young as you age.
So drink up, a nice glass of water and enjoy!