I never realized how important fresh and clean water was to my life before I, as a young man, spent time in poor and dry parts of India, where fresh water was not always easy to come by. Especially not clean water. One day, in the sweltering heat of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I sank to my knees of exhaustion due to dehydration. Water is indeed essential for keeping us energized and alive.
In later years, as I have supervised many juice fasts, I have also learned how important water is to experience a successful fast. Just drinking juice during a fast is not enough. We also need plenty of water, even when we are on a liquid fast. Here are some of the main reasons why water is so important to our health.
1. Water is the Substance of Life
All life depends on water to thrive: plants, animals, and humans. Our human body is composed of 80% water, so we need plenty of fresh water every day to keep the body hydrated. We can go days, even weeks, without food without causing harm to the body, but water is essential to stay alive.
2. Our Body is Literally Made of Water
We humans are water in motion. The brain contains about 85% water, the blood hold about 80% water, the muscles are composed of 70% water, and the tissues are about 50% liquid. So, when you drink that glass of water, you are literally keeping your thoughts and your muscles fluid and alive.
3. Not All Liquids Are Water
That sweet soft drink you had for lunch, or that hot coffee you had with breakfast does not feed your body with the optimum types of liquids. Actually, these kinds of drinks, including alcohol and black tea, actually do the opposite of what water does to us: these liquids steal water from the body. Coffee and black tea are both diuretic and thus push water from the body, while soft drinks and alcohol contain sugars which require lots of water to digest and turn into energy and fats.
4. Water is Vital
Water plays a crucial role in nearly every physical function of the body. Experts say that lack of water is the number one trigger of tiredness and fatigue during the day. Lack of water might indeed be why you feel so tired after that sugary drink during lunch. It’s not water! Only a slight drop in body water, a mere two percent, in fact, can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, give you trouble with basic math and reading.
5. A River System For Bodily Transport
Water plays a vital part of the digestive system. Without enough water, we will become constipated and thus tired due to accumulation of toxins in the body. In fact, the body’s “delta system” of water transports nutrients in and toxins out of the very cells that keep us alive. In addition, the vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins the body metabolizes and absorbs are all transported by water.
6. Water Brings in Oxygen and Gives Us More Energy
Water is essentially the circulation system of the body. The oxygen levels in the bloodstream are higher when the body is well lubricated and hydrated with water. The more oxygen the body has the more fat it will burn for energy. Without the presence of oxygen the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated, the increased levels of oxygen will also give you more energy.
7. Water removes Toxins
Water is one of the main ways the body removes toxins, both through the cells themselves as well as from the digestive tract. When we use water as a snack, we help suppress our appetite and thus we will eat less and hydrate more. Water also helps metabolize fat stored in the body: a decrease in water will increase fat deposits while an increase in water consumption will reduce fat deposits.
Now that we have established how important water is for the body, we need to ask a final question: how much water do we need daily? That depends. It depends on the time of year: we need more water in the summer than in the winter. It depends on our body type: some body types, according to Ayurveda, needs more water than others. It also depends on how much we exercise: the more we exercise and sweat, the more water we need.
But on average, we need to drink about 8-16 glasses of water every day. And when we are sick, we need even more water than on an average day. Water is indeed a great healer and an essential upholder of good health.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramesh is the Director of the Prama Wellness Center where lifestyle is considered our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He studied yoga therapy in Nepal and India, Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and is a certified yoga detox theraphist from the AM Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of four books, including Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra:The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India).