We can live longer without food than we can without water. Our bodies are about 60 % water. The percentage is higher in infants which is why they become sick so quickly if they are dehydrated.
Water serves many purposes for our bodies. It carries nutrition around the body to all our cells and it carries toxins and wastes out through our kidneys as urine, through our skin as perspiration, in our stool, and in our breath. It is necessary for chemical reactions in our body. Water helps to regulate body temperature. It aids in digestion in the form of saliva.
If we don’t drink enough fluids we then become dehydrated. When a person is mildly dehydrated, they become thirsty, have a dry mouth, become fatigued to name a few signs. Greater dehydration may cause a person to have a headache, urine output will be down among other things.
Vomiting and diarrhea cause the body to lose more fluids than normal. Beverages such as alcohol and coffee act as diuretics, meaning that we are losing more water than we normally would. Vigorous exercise usually causes us to sweat more than normal. Breast feeding is an activity that requires more water for the mother.
So how much should we drink? Eight 8-ounce glasses of water is an average amount under normal circumstances. Some people have fluid restrictions given to them by their doctor. In this case the doctor’s orders should be heeded. But if, person is sweating more due to exercise or just plain hot weather, or if a mother is breastfeeding, their need is more.
What about the type of water? Do you have a well? Do you have public water? Do you drink bottled water? Is your water supply safe? Whatever the case, we believe that you should check the source.
People with well water should have it tested once per year. Well water comes from an aquifer which can be contaminated from sources a good distance away. Water quality is determined by the presence and quantity of contaminants, by physical/ chemical factors such as pH and conductivity, by the number of salts present, and by the presence of nutrients, all which can affect our health.
Although public water is tested on a regular basis, we believe that it is important to filter, especially because of the chlorine that is used to make it safe. An Italian study found that chlorine, when mixed with soaps as in the shower and the laundry, create by-products associated with birth defects.
Purdex is a company that ranks public water systems, bottled water, and water filtration systems. Also the State of Connecticut has a list of companies that are certified to check your water supply.
Because water is so important for our health, we owe to ourselves to make sure that our water is as safe as it can be.