Proper hydration necessary for optimum body function

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Water is the most common substance on earth and is also the nutrient that your body needs the most. By weight, the adult body averages 55 to 75% water.

Why is it so important that we drink water? Water is critical in regulating all body organs and temperature as well moving nutrients throughout the body. Research has shown that proper hydrating may minimize chronic pains such as rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain and migraines as well as lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

How often should I drink water? Humans lose a pint or more of water every day simply by breathing. Humans normally lose about 10 cups of fluid a day in exhaled air, perspiration and other bodily secretions. What is lost must be replaced to maintain a fluid balance.

Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink a glass of water. By the time you feel thirsty, you've probably already lost two or more cups of your total body water. Drink water all day long to make sure you consume the proper daily amount.

How much water should I drink? The right of amount of water consumed is essential for keeping your body functioning. The average person consumes only six 8-ounce servings of water a day, which is well below the recommended eight servings.

How much you really need to drink depends on your body size, activity level and the air temperature. To determine your ideal daily water intake, experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest dividing your weight in half and using this number as the ounces of water you should consume. So, a 160-pound person should consume 80 ounces, or 10 servings at 8 ounces each.

What's the best fluid for staying hydrated? When it's warm outside, water - as opposed to caffeinated soft drinks, beer, or wine - is the best fluid for staying hydrated. Most of these other beverage alternatives contain caffeine, sugar or alcohol that may speed up dehydration. Another point to keep in mind: cool water is absorbed much more quickly than warm fluids and might have a positive effect on cooling of your overheated body.

What are the symptoms of dehydration? That headachy feeling you might be experiencing at the end of the day could very well be a sign of dehydration. Moderate dehydration can often cause lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches and nausea.

More severe dehydration might also raise the body's core temperature; affect muscle strength, endurance and coordination; and increase the risk of cramps, heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke.

What water is best? To provide the desired toxin-free water throughout the home, homeowners must have their water tested. A one-size-fits-all water filtration system will not deliver the desired water quality to meet the four criteria desired.

Local PSD annual tap water quality test results are public record and posted on each PSD's website - read them. Tap water supply can be researched also at ewg.org/tapwater. Regardless of your tap water source, it should be tested to ensure your family has high quality, safe water.

When choosing a filter, make sure it is certified to remove any contaminants found in your tap water.

For more information, visit the Water Quality Association at wqa.org, or call a local water treatment professional.

Chris Lane is the owner of Culligan Water Conditioning of the Lowcountry, serving Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties. culliganhhi.com

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