Water and oxygen are the most important nutrients for the human body. A person can only survive about three minutes without air and only three days without water. The body's supply of water is responsible for every bodily function. Sufficient water intake helps maintain a high level of health and prevents dehydration problems. A person should consume at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water each day for maximum health benefits.
Dehydration is the state of not having enough fluid in the body. It is common for athletes who fail to drink enough water during strenuous exercise, but it can also occur in anyone who does not receive adequate fluid intake. The elderly are especially susceptible to dehydration. The normal aging process tends to cause a decrease in thirst, which results in several problems associated with dehydration. Some symptoms of dehydration are dry skin, loss of appetite, headaches and confusion. Drinking enough water can alleviate these symptoms.
The digestive tract is a very complex system that requires water to help break down food. Heartburn, indigestion and constipation are some problems associated with inadequate water intake. The stomach lining is 98 percent water and contains bicarbonate to protect against stomach acid. This lining should be thick at all times to prevent stomach problems. Water helps maintain the thickness of the stomach lining. Not drinking enough water thins the lining, causing damage.
Cartilage in the body joints consists of approximately 80 percent water. This cartilage gives the joints a smooth surface and allows them to slide easily during movement, but they must remain lubricated. Not drinking enough water causes less lubrication of the joints, resulting in a greater amount of friction. When these joints lose their lubrication, they begin to degenerate quickly leading to arthritis. Drink the recommended amount of 1/2 oz. of water per pound of weight to help keep joints lubricated and reduce arthritis pain.
High Blood Pressure
Insufficient water intake can lead to high blood pressure. A shortage of water causes some capillaries to close, which results in a restriction in the movement of blood. This restriction of blood results in higher blood pressure as the body tries harder to push the blood through. Liquid in the arteries compensates for the lack of water in the capillaries. Because the blood is primarily water, drinking water can help lower the pressure. If blood flow to the kidneys is restricted due to lack of water, they react by constricting the veins and arteries making blood pressure even higher
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