Thirst for Thought

Written By Chiropractic Health and Wellness on February 1, 2010

Thirst for Thought:

On Thursday of last week, journalists around the world were happily reporting on a 16-year-old Haitian girl who had survived many days under an immense pile of rubble created by the devastating January 12th earthquake. She had been isolated in the concrete cavity for 15 days. After being rescued, doctors reported that she was very happy but extremely dehydrated. The brave young woman certainly owes her life to the relentless rescue team. However, if it was not for the bath water that provided Darlene Etienne with a few small drinks, the story might have ended sadly.

The tragedy in Haiti is causing many people to evaluate their own mortality and be thankful for their health and safety. For the 16-year-old girl rescued from the rubble, the difference between life and death was a sip or two of dirty bath water. Most of us are aware of the nourishment that water provides to our bodies; it is the lifeblood that keeps our cells, organs and tissues functioning with success. Yet many of us take for granted the fact that a gulp of healthy, revitalizing water is as close as the nearest faucet. Instead, we choose to drink coffee in the morning, soda with lunch and milk with dinner. We even elect to give our children sippycups filled with sugary juices instead of pure and refreshing water.

Availability of drinkable water is actually a significant global issue.  While 70% of the earth's surface is covered by water, only 3% is fresh water, and only 1% is considered drinkable.  Not only is water in shorter supply than we might think, but it also plays a significant role in human mortality each year.  A 2006 study indicated that approximately 1.1 billion people lack proper drinking water and that waterborne disease accounts for approximately 1.8 million deaths per year.  The leading cause of death among children is dehydration from diarrhea caused by waterborne disease.  We can be very thankful that we live in an area so blessed with abundant, drinkable water.

Our bodies crave water; at infancy our bodies are comprised of approximately 80% water and that percentage drops slightly to 70% when we reach adulthood. Scientific evidence regarding how much water we should be drinking is surprisingly sparse.  Human needs for water depend upon climate, activity and diet.  What is clear is that you should drink enough water so that you are urinating at least 4 times per day and the color of your urine should be light yellow.  For most adult males this amounts to 2-3 liters per day, and for women it amounts to 1-2 liters per day.  Many people have the misconception that when they drink beverages such as soda, tea and coffee, it counts towards their daily water quota. The truth is that, while these beverages do contain a lot of water, they also contain caffeine, which acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose total body water and become dehydrated.

One of the reasons why water is so important to our bodies is that it can help reduce the concentration of toxins traveling around in the bloodstream. What happens when sensitive organs, such as your eyes, are exposed to a harmful chemical? The first thing you will do is to rinse your eyes out with water. Why is this? Because the solution to pollution is dilution! Toxins are pollutants in your body and have the capability of causing a lot of damage. When we drink proper amounts of water, we dilute the toxins in our bloodstream and help flush out the dangerous particles.      

A lot of people find water unappealing to the taste buds, and the fact that they have to consume so much (up to 100 oz of water per day depending on your weight) causes many to avoid the task altogether. Instead of ignoring our body's request for a rinsing, there are things we can do to make drinking water easier and more appealing:

 Add lemon to the liquid for a refreshing citrus kick.
 Keep your water in a larger vessel so you do not have to go for a fill up so often.
 Write notes to remind yourself to refill your refreshment.
 Avoid other beverages options; do not even keep them in the house!

Drinking water is one of the easiest, cheapest and most important things we can do to better our health and function. The tragedy in Haiti reminds many of us of how fortunate we are to have easy access to clean and safe drinking water. So don't waste any more time. Go to the faucet and pour yourself a cool glass of crisp, refreshing water and enjoy. Cheers!

Yours in Health,

Morgan Pink
Community Relations