H0 is one of the most important parts of your diet. Here's a rundown of what it does for every part of you + why you need to drink enough each day.
by Jeremy Lehrer, for Rodale's Organic Life
There are tears that keep your eyes moist and those that wash away grit. But the ones you weep during a tear-jerker movie? Those are called emotional tears, and they contain hormones that some researchers say rinse out substances induced by stress.
It’s not just kids with runny noses who are full of mucus. We all produce about 1 liter of it per day. It’s around 95 percent water, so why’s it so slimy? The 5 percent that’s salt, proteins, and antibodies makes it viscous. That’s a good thing: The gooey stuff shields lungs from bacteria and lubes up sensitive spots, like intestines and sex organs.
There’s a reason the word salivating evokes desire: Saliva—99 percent water—wets speech, kissing, and eating. Its enzymes break down food, proteins protect teeth, and antimicrobials fight germs. Got a small cut? Lick it. Saliva clots blood.
Plasma, blood’s liquid part, is 92 percent water. The body’s mighty Mississippi, blood ferries oxygen, nutrients, and hormones, and it washes metabolic waste into the kidneys. To help keep blood pressure at healthy levels, guys should drink 16 cups of water per day; women, 11 cups.
Ninety percent water and 10 percent good stuff like proteins, fats, amino acids, and antibodies, mother’s milk is like a power shake for newborns. Help keep it detoxified by eating organic cruciferous vegetables.
It’s like the body’s graywater system, complete with filters and ducts: The fluid called lymph circulates through the body, filtering out bacteria and viruses, and flowing proteins back into the bloodstream. Without it, we’d be goners in a day.
Around 90 percent water, semen holds the fructose that fuels the voyage of 300 million sperm per pop.
Birth is like being dragged out of the ocean—a water, sodium, and plasma mix that feeds, warms, and cradles us. Baby and fluid are mucho simpático: Early on, the liquid actually passes through the fetus’s skin. Later, it gets swallowed and cycled through the baby’s body.
Sweat is 99 percent water. When you sweat, your skin and the body inside it cool. You also lose impurities, so a nice rest in a hot sauna helps you detox naturally—just be sure to rehydrate.
In ancient Chinese medicine, the menstrual cycle was governed by tian gui—“heavenly water.” Why do women get bloated during periods? Much of it is water retention, spurred by hormonal changes. To help lessen bloat, ironically, you should drink more water. If you’re dehydrated, your body tends to hold on to the water it has.
Eat! Eat! Food provides 20 percent of the water we take in daily.
The seas are inside of us: saltwater in the cells makes up 40 percent of our body mass.
Diet, toxins, the state of our immune systems—it’s all revealed in urine, which is at least 95 percent water. You can learn a lot just by looking at your pee: Light yellow is good, dark yellow means you need to hydrate, red or brown hints at bleeding (or eating beets), and cloudy signals a urinary tract infection.
This article was originally published on Rodale's Organic Life.
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