Wednesday, January 10, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Do You Drink Enough Water?

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water."  
                                                                      --Loren Eiseley

I have a daily ritual that goes like this:

Step 1: Within 10 minutes of waking, fill a large glass with water (about 16 ounces).
Step 2:  Cut a fresh lemon in half.
Step 3:  Squeeze the lemon juice into the water.  
Step 4:  Drink.  Repeat tomorrow.

Most people don’t drink enough water, which is pretty silly when you consider that the human body is 60% water and our brains are 70% water. 

Image result for water "org"

I dare you to do this experiment:  every time you drink water tomorrow, put the same amount of water into a large pitcher.  At the end of the day, how much water did you drink?  Was it enough?  Look at the color of your pee:  if it is dark yellow and has a strong smell, you are not drinking enough water. 

Image result for glass of water "org"

How much water should we drink and why do we need it?  These are two lessons that I believe all children should be taught. 

Lesson 1:  How much water should we drink?  This depends on several things such as how active you are and where you live.  A general rule is divide your weight in half and that is how many ounces of water you need every day, at a minimum.  If you are physically active every day or live in a hot climate, you may need twice as much water.  In other words, drink ½ to 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh.  If you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75-150 ounces of water.  If you live in a cold climate and you are sedentary, then your need is at the low end of the spectrum: ½ ounce per pound.  If you live in a warm climate and are physically active every day, you are at the high end.  Drink water throughout the day.  

Lesson 2:  Why do we need to drink water?   
  • It helps us digest food.  
  • It prevents us from overeating (the body does not always distinguish between hunger and thirst).  
  • It prevents constipation; people who don’t drink enough water are often constipated.  
  • It helps with weight loss by keeping your metabolism revved.  
  • Water is involved in every cellular process – you don’t run at peak efficiency if you are dehydrated.  
  • Drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before meals helps you eat less. 
  • It keeps our kidneys healthy and prevents kidney stones. 

According to, doctors who specialize in pediatric kidney problems report seeing more kidney stones in children in recent years, and they believe it’s because of a combination of factors.  Many kids aren’t drinking enough water.  Also, many kids are overweight and eat a poor diet.  Robert Weiss, MD, chief of pediatric nephrology at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital of the Westchester Medical Center in New York said, “I’ve been in this field for over 30 years, and I’d say that until about the last 10 to 15 years, you almost never saw stones in kids.  Lately, the frequency is increasing dramatically.” 

Love your children.  Teach them about the importance of drinking water throughout the day.

I'm thirsty.  Please pass the water.  

With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.