6. Water Sustains Life


Water is stored all over us, in our brain and our body, in our liver, kidneys, stomach, bladder, spinal fluids: everywhere! However, more than half is actually inside our cells. As a car engine must have water to function, so every single cell in the human body is dependent on water. Humans can only survive a few days without water.


The body needs water to transport water-soluble nutrients to organs in the body, to transport toxins and waste products out of the body via urine, and to send electrical messages between cells. For example, water allows organs to function, muscles to contract and relax, and for eyes to focus on images. Water also controls our body temperature, it is necessary to digest food and drink, to lubricate our joints and to keep our tissues healthy and pliable.  


Only 1% dehydration is a key factor in the cause of headaches, loss of focus, fatigue and poor mood. Thirst is a poor, early sign of dehydration. By the time we feel thirsty, we may already be dehydrated and thirst can be quenched before the necessary body fluids have been replaced. Even slight dehydration impacts brain function, mood and energy; and can produce symptoms of memory loss, mental confusion and dissociation.


Air-conditioning, coffee, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, cigarettes and energy stimulating foods all dehydrate our bodies. Blood loss, vomiting and diarrhea, fever, shock, burns, hypothermia, excessive use of drugs and stimulants, over-consumption of alcohol, infectious disease, malnutrition and diabetes can also cause dehydration. Dehydration can lead to weight gain, while hydration is essential to weight loss.


If we drink a lot of diuretics, like coffee, tea, soft drink or alcohol, our kidneys start to shed sodium. This means we need to drink more water to replace it. This is not good for our brain or body. These fluids are the wrong type for our brain and body. Water is the fluid our system needs.


Studies have shown that by simply drinking 2 glasses of water, half an hour before meals, brain function, mood and blood sugar can be dramatically improved.


Maintaining adequate hydration is very important to optimising your brain function.


As a guide, it's recommended we consume 8-12 glasses of water a day. How much we need depends on our physical activity, our age,  body size, health, whether you are expecting a baby and even the weather. The best way to tell if we are consuming enough water to hydrate our body is by the colour of our urine. A pale, wheat coloured wee is ideal while both yellow and orange wee indicate that we require more water.


Consume most water during the day to assist with sleeping well throughout the night. Avoid or minimize sweetened beverages such as lemonade, sweet tea, soda, and fruit juices in order to decrease lethargy or brain drain.


Our body's thirst sensation is diminished in people over 50 years of age, and continues to diminish with age. Many senior citizens suffer dehydration.


Unintentional Chronic Dehydration contributes to, and even produces, pain and many degenerative diseases. These can be prevented and treated, simply by increasing water intake on a regular basis.


Water is the BEST energy drink


"I now know that water is the basic ingredient of our blood. So, a lack of water has a major affect on my blood sugar levels. That's why I often look for food when I am dehydrated. I drank absolutely no water leading up to, and for years after, my break-down... unless you count Coke, Coffee and Beer as water" : )



Food For Thought


What new knowledge did you gain from this lesson?


Now that you know this, how could it be applied?