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Ever notice how lifeless a houseplant looks when you forget to water it? Just a little water and it seems to perk back up. Water is just as needed for our bodies because it is in every cell, tissue, and organ. That is why getting enough water every day is important for your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps keep body temperature normal. Water lubricates and cushions your joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues. Water gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
As mentioned above, drinking water is very important, and must be taught to your children.
Drinking beverages with sugar provides more calories, which increases weight. To help with weight control, choose drinks that don’t have added sugar. Try to make better choices when choosing what you will drink. Also, help your children make better choices. Start off their bodies in a healthy way.
Thirst: Does your body know when it needs water?
Your body’s need for water is controlled by your thirst mechanism – when you need water, an area in your brain causes you to feel thirsty. This mechanism is not as reliable as other mechanisms, such as hunger. Scientists are working to understand why we often have a need for water without feeling thirsty.
The area of the brain that causes thirst may become less sensitive with age. This means older persons may feel thirst less often and are more likely to become dehydrated.
Dehydration causes your blood to become thicker than normal and upsets the delicate water balance of the body. It can lead to rapid heartbeat, a drop in blood pressure, and interfere with obligatory water excretion.
It’s easy to forget how important water is for health. Try to make a conscious effort each day to drink the water your body needs, especially in warm weather or when you are active. It’s a good idea to sip water regularly throughout the day.
Since thirst lags behind the need for water, it’s hard to remember to drink enough. It you’re not sure how much water you drink, try filling up two one-quart jars with water in the morning and use them for your drinking water throughout the day. If they are empty by evening, you’ll know you drank 8 glasses of water.
If you’re not in the habit of drinking water regularly, it’s best to increase your intake gradually. Start with two or three glasses a day and slowly increase by half a glass a day until you are drinking 6 – 8 glasses each day.
Source: Colorado State University Extension Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.
Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.