By Dr. Willie T. Ong
Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Just look at the facts:
The brain contains 74% water, blood contains 83% water, lean
muscle has 75% and bone has 22% water. Experts agree that
water is one of the most powerful forms of treatment. So how
come most people don't drink enough water?
10 Health Benefits of Water:
1. Water prevents kidney stones. The most common cause of
kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Since water dissolves
the substances that form stones in the urine, drinking 12 glasses
daily helps treat kidney stones.
2. Water treats urinary tract infection. The more water you drink,
the more you will urinate. "Drinking lots of water will help flush
out harmful bacteria from your bladder," says Medical City kidney
specialist Dr. Roberto Tanchanco.
3. Water helps patients with diarrhea by preventing dehydration.
As a first-aid for diarrhea, you can make your own oral
rehydration solution at home. Mix a glass of water with 2
teaspoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt, and drink as much as you
can tolerate. This is similar to the dextrose solution in the
4. Water helps reduce fever. For symptoms of flu, water can help
lower your body temperature when you urinate the "heat" out of
your body. If you're sick, drink more water for you to recover
5. Water helps treat cough and colds, sore throat, and respiratory
infections. Water helps loosen sticky phlegm. A respected lung
specialist told me that some mucolytics out there are just as
beneficial as drinking lots of water.
6. Water reduces heartburn. Taking 2-3 gulps of water every 20
minutes or so can help flush the stomach acid away. Bananas and
water are effective alternatives to taking antacids. Try it.
7. Water prevents constipation and its complications. Too little
water can harden the stools and lead to hemorrhoids and
diverticulosis, a disease of the large bowel. Drink water and eat
lots of vegetables to soften your stools.
8. Water keeps you alert and energetic. If you're dehydrated,
your blood is literally thicker. This makes it harder for the blood
to circulate. As a result, the brain can become less active and you
can feel confused and fatigued. Some studies also show that
water may help cure migraine headaches.
9. Water helps reduce weight. By drinking a glass or two of water
before a meal, you will lessen the amount of food you can take in
order to feel full. Water has zero calories and will not make you
10. Water keeps your skin soft and radiant. Just as a dehydrated
person will have deep-set eyes and wrinkled skin, so will a fully
hydrated person exhibit a normal and beautiful skin tone.
The Proper Way To Drink Water:
1. Drink water when you wake up. Your body loses water while
you sleep, so drink a glass before you go to sleep, and another
glass when you wake up. You are naturally thirsty or dehydrated
in the morning. Drinking water in the morning helps flush out the
toxins that have accumulated all night.
2. Drink 8 to 12 glasses a day. According to the Mayo Clinic, a
120-pound individual needs 8 cups of water a day, while a 190-
pound person would require 12 cups daily. Dr. Robert Tanchanco
says that we should monitor our urine color and keep it on the
light side. However, drink only a maximum of 16 glasses a day,
and not more.
3. Drink little by little throughout the day. It is preferable to sip
water throughout the day rather than to drink two glasses all at
once. This will lessen the stress on the heart (especially if you
have heart disease) and give your body more time to absorb it.
4. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water. By the time you
feel thirsty, you're probably already 2 glasses below your normal
water needs. Elderly people are also less sensitive to the body's
need for water.
5. Drink water, not soft drinks, alcohol or coffee. Some experts
believe that tea, sodas and coffee can be potentially dehydrating.
Moreover, the high phosphorus and sugar content in cola drinks
can lead to conditions like osteoporosis and diabetes. One study
shows that adults who drank six cups of coffee daily experienced
mild dehydration. Drinking alcohol is much worse because it
actually dehydrates you by making you urinate a lot.
6. Train children to drink water. Set a good example to your kids
and drink water together. Make sure that children drink enough
water when they're active. Pack a large bottled water in their
7. Drink more when it's hot. People living in hot climates like the
Philippines need to drink more water. They are more prone to
develop kidney stones compared to those living in cooler regions.
8. Drink more as you exercise. When you exercise, you need to
drink more water to compensate for fluid loss. Go for an extra
500 ml of water for a 30-minute to 1-hour exercise. Eating a
banana also helps keep your potassium up.
9. Drink more when you're sick. Even though you don't feel like
it, you really need to drink more water to help your body recover
from various infections. If you're dehydrated, you'll feel much
10. Drink more if you're pregnant. Women who are expecting or
breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The
Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 10
cups of fluids daily and women who breast-feed take in about 13
cups of fluids a day.