Water is everywhere. It covers 71% of the earths surface or about 139 million square miles. The water that we drink, bath in, and swim in is over 4 billion years old. The rain that falls on us is the same rain that formed the oceans, wet the dinosaurs and washed the Roman Empire. It is the same water, recycled again and again. It is also essential to life, and a nutrient we perhaps take for granted.
Water is Vital to Life
We are regularly losing water through our lungs, skin, urine, and feces. The body cannot store water and must be replenished daily to perform the necessary metabolic functions.
Water is needed to maintain the health of all the cells in the body, maintain the proper liquidity of the bloodstream, regulate body temperature, moisten mucus membranes, lubricate joints, aid digestion, and carry oxygen to the cells.
Water and the Bariatric Patient
Water might be the most important stimulus for both weight loss and keeping weight off. Water is an appetite suppressant and helps to metabolize stored fat.
The kidneys do not function properly without enough water. Should this occur, the liver compensates for the compromised kidneys. Among other duties, the liver metabolizes stored fat into energy. If the liver is sharing the workload of the kidneys, it metabolizes less fat and weight loss ceases.
The average person should drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day or about two quarts. People who are overweight should add one additional glass for every twenty-five pounds they are overweight. The nutritionist at my bariatric surgeon's office told me to work-up to 80-100 oz. of water each day, once my pouch had matured.
Cold water should be the preference because its is incorporated into the system faster than warm water. Using a reverse osmosis or double carbon filter system greatly reduces contaminants and provides great-tasting water.
When the body does not get a sufficient amount of water, it perceives a this as a threat and retains water. Water is then stored outside of the cells which causes swollen feet, hands, and legs. The best resolution for water retention is to drink more water. When the body once again has sufficient levels of water, it will release what it has retained.
Excess salt may also be the cause of water retention. If salt is consumed in amounts that are greater than usual then greater than usual amounts of water are needed to dilute the salt. Drinking more water will move salt through the kidneys and remove excess sodium. Mineral water and carbonated water contain salt and the amount that is used should be minimal.
Dehydration can occur if the body has too little water. Causes for dehydration can be increased sweating, not drinking enough water, increased output of urine, diarrhea or vomiting, and recovery from burns.
Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, lack of energy, mood changes, dry lips or cracked lips, and confusion. If the problem is left unaddressed, the kidneys can fail and toxic waste cannot be removed.