IT IS right there at the kitchen sink. Usually it is readily available for all. It costs little, but can bring better health. It is one of our body’s most important nutrients. It is cool, clear water. Yet the simple advice to drink more water is often neglected by even health-minded people.
Did you know that about 70 percent of our total body weight is made up of water? So it is not difficult to see why we need plenty of water for our bodies to function in a healthy way.
Of course, our kidneys do a wonderful work. Equipped with millions of filtering units, the kidneys screen out impurities from the blood and return the purified fluid to the bloodstream. It has been estimated that we would need to drink thousands of cups of water a day if it were not for the recycled water provided by our kidneys.
But even with healthy kidneys functioning well, the supply of clean water in our bodies drops constantly and needs replenishing. Without sufficient fluid to flush out the by-products of cell metabolism, body cells can slowly become poisoned by their own waste.
Fortunately, much of the food we eat supplies a great deal of the water we need because many foods are made up largely of water. Take the egg as an example. You may not realize that an egg is about 74 percent water. A piece of steak is about 73 percent water, and a watermelon has a huge 92-percent water content. But even so, most of us would still benefit by drinking more water.
Writing in the Weekend Australian, Michael Boddy cites the experience of mountain climbers to support the claim that excessive fatigue can result from a buildup of poisonous waste in body cells. He says: “Swiss mountaineers failed to conquer [Mount] Everest due to lack of water, and water is why the British expedition under Sir Edmund Hillary was successful-they were made to drink twelve cups of water a day while on the climb.”
The same writer tells of a Harvard University experiment that also bears out the value of drinking water.
A small group of athletes was instructed to drink no water at all and asked to walk briskly at three miles an hour (5 km/hr). They kept going for about three and a half hours. Then their body temperature rose suddenly to about 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39° C.). Soon after, they collapsed from exhaustion. A second group followed the same routine, but they were allowed to drink water whenever they felt thirsty and as much as they wished. This group lasted for about six hours and then experienced exactly the same reaction as the previous group.
Then a third group was tested. But this group was monitored closely, and it was found that they lost about one cup of water every 15 minutes. By replacing this amount of water as it was lost, none of this group experienced the sudden rise in body temperature, nor did they reach the point of exhaustion. In fact, all of them claimed that they could have walked on indefinitely. So it seems that natural thirst may not be an accurate barometer of our body’s need for water. We might need more than thirst dictates.
Perhaps we could all improve our health by drinking more cool, refreshing, God-given water.