11 May 2011

Health Naturally ~ PART I: Water - rejuvenate you!

Many of us rush through our days at work without eating a well-balanced breakfast or lunch. We snack in between meals on whatever is available. What is also very sad, is that so many of us pay little attention to the pang inside urging us to take a sip of water. How many of you have a routine similar to this? Unfortunately, we do our bodies a disservice when we consume precious little or at times, no water during our busy days at work or at school. 

In Part I of this series, we are hoping to shed some light on why water is important to the proper functioning of the body. It is easy on the pocket - for one thing - therefore making it easy to bottle and go. Ultimately, we hope we can show how not taking sufficient water can lead to poorly looking hair and skin; and, a poorly functioning body. 

**My expert on the topic is Kareen, a Registered Dietitian. She holds a Masters in Public Health from a Southern California university where she currently resides and works at a local community hospital. Kareen is the lovely Loczurious blogger. To see more on Kareen's health and fitness journey, you can join her at iameatingright.**


Naturaleza: Kareen, I'm delighted that you have agreed to share this discussion with our readers. Water. Quite an important commodity to everyone. What are the functions of water to the human body?

Kareen: Thank you for having me. Basically, all of the major systems in your body require water to work. From regulating body temperature to lubricating joints to assisting your kidneys in flushing out waste, there is  not one part of your body which does not benefit from water.

It’s important on so many different levels that you are drinking an adequate amount of water. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy levels leaving you feeling tired.

Naturaleza: I've often read and heard people recommending 8 glasses of water daily. Is this amount still current and necessary?

Kareen: Those guidelines are not really scientifically supported; however, they are easy to remember which probably explains its lasting power! Truthfully there is no one formula that can be used to truly determine a person’s hydration needs. The amount of water each individual needs is unique: dependent on geographical location, activity level and health status.

Overall, if you are drinking enough so that you are not thirsty and your urine output is lightly yellow, you are likely getting enough to drink. Keep in mind, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Here are a couple of other methods that can be used as guidelines. For specific recommendations, readers should see a physician or registered dietitian.
  • Replacement Method – Based on estimating water loss throughout the day. Water is lost most obviously through urine and sweat output. We also lose water through breathing and other bodily functions. Most healthy adults typically lose an average of 1.5 liters of fluid daily through urine and another liter through breathing and other functions as mentioned above. That’s an average of 2.5 liters daily. If you are consistently drinking around eight to nine 8 ounce cups of water, as a healthy adult, chances are you are properly hydrated.
  • Dietary Guidelines – The Institute of Medicine recommends about nine cups for women and 13 cups for men.

Naturaleza: Are there different sources of water to the human body?

Kareen: Definitely! The food that you eat accounts for about 20% of your daily fluid intake and not just fruit but also pasta, rice and potatoes! Although juice also contains sugar, it is a source of fluid as is herbal tea. 

Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda dehydrate and remove water from your system. In fact, for every serving of caffeinated beverage you drink, you must drink double that amount to replace the fluid you lost.

As a beverage, water remains the best way to remain properly hydrated.

Naturaleza: How does water benefit us during exercise and dieting? 

Kareen: With any physical activity, keeping hydrated is the goal. Your heart is working harder during exercise to circulate blood because as sweating increases, blood volume drops.

The recommended amount of water to drink depends on intensity and duration of exercise. If you’re planning on exercising for longer than 90 minutes, you should consider rehydrating with an electrolyte replacement beverage. For example, Gatorade or Powerade.

While water is one of the best beverages to remain hydrated, the loss of sodium and other electrolytes through sweat requires more than just water. As always, for specific recommendations for your health status, please see a physician or registered dietitian.

Where diet is concerned, drinking water can help to fill you up which may decrease your daily caloric intake although there is no strong scientific evidence to support this fact. Also, hunger may mask thirst. Next time you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 30 minutes to see if you’re actually ready to eat.

Naturaleza: Now specifically, what are the benefits of drinking water for skin health?
Kareen: The benefits of drinking water on skin health are unclear. The water that we drink moves through our bodies quickly and does not reach the skin. However, as I mentioned above, water is required for overall health so while science may not show a direct link, an indirect link is not a stretch. If your body systems are not working optimally, your skin will show it. So keep drinking water!

To keep your skin naturally moisturized, limit time in the shower and keep it cool. Hot water and long baths remove natural oils from your skin leaving it dry. After showering, gently pat your skin dry to allow some moisture to remain.

Misting skin with water has also not been shown to improve hydration of skin. Instead, preventing moisture from leaving the skin in the first place with a good moisturizer has been shown to be more effective.

Naturaleza: Now, what about feeding water to our hair? This might seem a strange way to word the question; but, how does consuming water lead to a healthy head of hair?
Kareen: Water plays an important part in keratinized tissue (keratin is a key component of hair and nails) such as hair. Unlike skin, hair benefits greatly from water applied directly. About 75% of water is absorbed within four minutes of application. Those living in humid climates have no doubt  experienced how quickly hair absorbs water from the air. When I first went natural and I was living in a humid area, the shrinkage would drive me insane. I would leave the house with a great style and end up with a fro within minutes!

Where hair is concerned, you can drink your water and spritz it, too! Your hair will thank you for it.

Naturaleza: Thanks so much, Kareen for stopping by Naturaleza! We are grateful for your input and look forward to chatting with you again on Health Naturally!

As our readers, the discussion does not have to end here. Kareen and I remain at your disposal, so do feel free to leave any comments or questions. All will be answered in a timely fashion.

Stay tuned for PART 2 in this Series - Health Naturally!


  1. Great job!

  2. @af8af79e2dd4eef3c23007f4a6547675 Hey thank you, too!

  3. Wow this was a very informative read on water and its effects on health! I totally learned a few things, and realized I'm terrible when it comes to water intake... it's embarrassing to think I only drink 1-2 beverages a day, and it's mostly coffee and diet coke!

    Thanks for covering this topic and hosting Kareen on Naturaleza, I'm a huge fan of hers and it's cool to see her in a different venue.

  4. Hi, Adri! You are welcome. We are glad that you found it informative. To me, that is important, that people leave feeling empowered and want to add something positive to their daily routine. Oh, yes, this is her forte. Kareen is quite a motivator and I, too, love following her blogs. Hope you will join us for the other 3 topics to follow. Thanks!

  5. Jeez, that's so simple, but something we take for granted all the time. I stopped drinking sodas a long time ago and I noticed a positive change. I'm trying to wake up every morning with a cup of tea and a glass of room temp water. It's the first thing I do.

  6. Hey, Charish. Actually had someone recommend room temp water with a hint of water. That one is new for me but will give it a try sometime.

    I've heard of just having room temp water. Hope you stick to your morning goal.


Hi there! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I enjoy having your feedback. Please check back to see how others have shared on this post.