Good Sunday morning, everyone! At United Way we fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. I believe each goes hand in hand with the other. That is why I write about the different topics pertaining to diet, exercise, budgeting, etc.

So, here is another topic that is so easy to fix if you aren’t doing it already — water, and how much you drink daily.

For most of us, water is just water. It’s a tasteless, odorless liquid that we drink when we’re thirsty. I hear people all the time tell me they hate to drink water because of just what I said, it has no taste.

Experts will tell you that our body is wired to absorb natural minerals and nutrients that are present. So, just as we eat food for nutrition, it’s important to understand that water contains the same essential elements that benefits our bodies tremendously.

Water is probably the most underrated health product available. It’s critical to our body’s mechanics, and it also helps promote clear skin and prevent illness. Most studies will tell you that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. More if you exercise, have an illness, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

You might think that is a lot of water to drink in a day, but water isn’t just in water. It’s in fruits and vegetables and other products you consume also. And, if you don’t like drinking plain water then throw in some fruit to give it some flavor.

Most of us are walking around dehydrated and simply don’t have a clue. Thirst is your body’s way of giving you a warning. By the time you’re at this stage your body is pulling water from organs. Your brain is made up of 75 percent water, your bones are made of 22 percent water and your muscles are 75 percent water, so it is crucial to remember how important water is for you.

The Cleveland Clinic gave these examples of what happens when you don’t get enough water.

• That afternoon fatigue could be your body being dehydrated. Water is most vital resource of energy in the body. So instead of pouring an afternoon cup of coffee try reaching for a bottle of water.

• The blood is normally 92 percent water when the body is fully hydrated. When dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker causing resistance to blood flow and resulting in elevated blood pressure.

• When short on water, the colon is one of the primary regions the body draws water from in order to provide fluids for other critical body functions. Without adequate water, wastes move through the large intestines much more slowly or sometimes not at all, resulting in constipation.

• All joints have cartilage padding which is composed mainly of water. When the body is dehydrated, cartilage is weakened, and joint repair is slow resulting in pain and discomfort.

These are only a couple of examples. If you aren’t getting enough water add it in to your daily routine and see how it changes how you feel and how you look. Your body and mind will thank you.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512

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