Urban Faith What to Know About H2OIn the beginning, there was water. And lots of it! In the Bible you will find divided waters, gathered waters, flowing water, and water that brings forth and sustains life. Water can be both deadly and life-giving.

Drinking the right amount of water is a topic that we hear about constantly because human life cannot survive without it. While there is no scientific consensus on exactly how much water a person should drink each day, most experts agree that it needs to be a regular part of everyone’s diet.

Water makes up approximately 60 to 75 percent of our weight. And every system in our body depends on it. What goes on in your body if you don’t get enough water? Consider this:

  • Vital organs would not function properly because they require water to flush out toxins.
  • Cells would not operate at full capacity if they didn’t receive the nutrients carried to them through water.
  • Ears, noses, and throats would have problems from lacking a moist environment in which to function.
  • Bodily functions would be impaired. Water acts as the transportation system for the body, removing waste, delivering nutrients, and it helps to keep blood flowing throughout the body.
  • Body tissues lacking water would not be able to prevent the body from shock. Water acts as a lubricant in and around tissues, thus providing a cushion for the inside of the body.
  • Digestion would be seriously flawed. Constipation, dry mucous and inadequate saliva result from not having enough water. Difficulty swallowing and a noticeable difference in how food tastes could also happen.
  • Stiff joints? Bone joint movement could be hindered when there isn’t enough water in the body.

Without water, our health suffers tremendously. But before you panic and think that you need to chug down a gallon of H20, there is comfort in knowing that if you eat a balanced diet containing fruit, vegetables, grains, and protein-rich foods such as meat (or beans, for vegetarians) you may be getting at least the minimal amount the body needs to function.

Crisp vegetables like lettuce and celery contain at least 90 percent water. Protein-rich meats may have as much as half to two-thirds their weight in water. And grains, though usually dry, may be composed of one-third water. Water finds it way into a lot of things we already eat, but remember it may not always remain in the liquid form.

Now that you know what could happen if you don’t drink enough water, how is your daily water intake? Is it right for your body’s optimal health? The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume 3.0 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). Solid foods may provide as much as 20 percent of our daily liquid intake, but the rest comes from drinking water and other beverages. Don’t cheat your body out of that remaining 80 percent.

It’s also wise to think about the types of liquids your body is receiving. Do you really need that soda, even though it contains water (as well as sugar and an assortment of chemicals)? Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re getting what your body needs by making unhealthy choices. The water you take in from soda or by drinking too much caffeine-laden coffee is not as healthy as plain water. Remember, your body has to digest all those sugars and chemicals found, causing it to work harder and lessening the potency of the water. With a little discipline and planning, you can make better choices to be healthier.

So the next time you’re thirsting for a diet soda or a $6 cup of java, grab a cup of water instead and drink up for good health! Your body will thank you later.

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