I’ll Drink to That
by William Fraser | Chair, Wellness Committee
You notice it as your plane approaches the Palm Springs Airport, and it becomes even more evident as you drive around the city: lush green grass, plants, and graceful palm trees on one side of the road; barren, parched land with palm tree stumps on the other side. This is a stark illustration of the importance of water in our lives.
While having water is one necessity for growing plants, water is even more important in the lives of humans. The science describes water as a clear, odourless liquid with no calories, minerals, or vitamins. Even so, it is essential to human life, and key to most bodily functions, from the spit in your mouth to the sweat on your feet.
The main component of spit, or saliva, is water. Saliva also contains small amounts of electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes. These all aid in the breakdown of food and help to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Normally the body produces enough saliva, but age and some medication may cause a dry mouth, so drinking water will help to keep your mouth moist.
Staying hydrated is also very important, as strenuous exercise or work or a hot environment will cause loss of body water. Dehydration can cause serious medical conditions like decreased blood pressure and hyperthermia; severe dehydration can lead to seizures, brain swelling, and death. While releasing sweat cools your body, it also causes the loss of some electrolytes and plasma that your body needs. Keep in mind that up to sixty per cent of the human body is water, so you don’t want to lose too much.
Taking in water helps to lubricate and cushion your joints, spinal cord, and organ tissue. It increases the pleasure of physical activities by lessening the discomfort caused by conditions like arthritis and helps fight off exercise-induced asthma. As bathing in water keeps you clean on the outside, taking in water helps keep you clean inside. With the aid of water, your kidneys filter out waste, which is eliminated through urination and defecation. Maximizing water intake helps to prevent kidney stones. Water also helps to dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food and deliver them to the rest of your body. At the same time, it improves blood oxygen circulation.
Water is important to good gut health. Eating remains one of life’s pleasures. Experts confirm that drinking water before, during, and after a meal helps to break down the food that you eat more easily and effectively, getting the most out of your meals. Water consumption aids in digestion and also helps to prevent constipation. Along with a healthy amount of fibre and magnesium, maintaining your water intake will ensure your bowel movements contain enough water. If you’re already constipated, you may find that drinking carbonated water as well as plain water can help ease your symptoms.
Some benefits of drinking plenty of water may be unexpected. It may activate your metabolism, and that boost may have a positive impact on energy levels. Weight loss could also be a pleasant ‘side effect.’ Drinking more water while dieting and exercising might just help you lose extra pounds. Cognitive function, including focus, alertness, and short-term memory, can stay in tip-top shape with proper hydration. Mood can be improved, as dehydration can result in fatigue, confusion, and anxiety. And while the effects of aging on your skin are connected primarily to your genetics and sun exposure, hydration can promote the production of collagen.
Hope springs eternal!