Our favorite time of the year in the vineyard is watching the grapes ripen and tasting their sweet, plump, juicy flavors. After harvest, any grapes left on the vine slowly become raisins. Over time, they turn into crunchy little things which most of us care nothing about. What is the difference between the coveted grapes and the crunchy things they become?
Water! Grapes are well hydrated with water and raisins are dehydrated.
Did you know that the human body is 75% water? Brain tissue is 85% water! With that much water content in our body, it must be pretty important. We have all been cautioned about becoming dehydrated especially during the hot summer. In fact, on one of my exercise DVD’s, the instructor cautions not to wait until you are thirsty to drink and hydrate yourself – at that point it is too late, you are already behind in the water game.
I am reading Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj and am finding it fascinating! Although 8 glasses of water per day is a good starting point, he argues that most people need as much as 2 1/2 – 3 qts of water per day (unless there are kidney problems). I don’t know about you, but unless I make a conscious effort, I do not drink enough water!
According to Dr Batmanghelidj, water has life-giving and life-sustaining properties.
Water has 4 life-giving properties:
- Water drives chemical reactions in the body.
- Water is a major source of energy.
- Energy generated by water helps make ATP and GTP both of which are used in neurotransmission.
- Water acts as a glue which holds the solid structures in the cell membrane together.
Water has 4 life-sustaining properties:
- In the body, proteins and enzymes work better in a solution of lower viscosity which means the solution is “thin” as in a well hydrated state.
- In “thick” solutions (higher viscosity) as in a dehydrated state, the proteins and enzymes of the body do not work as well and are not as efficient.
- As we age, we become more dehydrated in the inner part of our cells. This natural process makes the recognition of thirst less accurate – you may not even realize that you are thirsty!
- Water regulates all the functions of the body.
Here in West Texas, we have been in a drought for quite some time and we have ways to conserve water. For example, in the city closest to us, residents may only water their lawn between certain hours a couple of times per week. In the vineyard, we have different zones for our underground drip irrigation – we do not have enough water to water the whole vineyard at once so we alternate which variety receives water and when. The body also has a drought management system. A priority scale is predetermined that regulates which areas of the body receive water first. You might guess that the brain is at the top of the list! Unfortunately, when the body is forced to ration water, the areas not receiving enough water suffer. It is important to provide the body with plenty of good quality water so it can function at its optimum.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Chronic Pain – any pain not related to an accident or injury
When we are working in the vineyard in the heat of the summer, it is very common for someone to develop a headache. Before we pop a pill, we always have the person drink 2 glasses of water. More often than not, in a very short period of time the headache is gone! This has happened too many time to be a coincident! I wish I had realized sooner that other physical issues could actually be our body crying out for water.
Dr. Batmanghelidj has successfully treated many issues including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, excess weight, neck and back pain, depression and more with the simple prescription of increased daily water consumption! Drinking water – what an easy first step in preventative medicine to take ourselves.
Why don’t more doctor’s prescribe water before pills? Although many may simply not understand the important role water plays in the body, for many, money is the issue. Dr. Batmanghelidj’s research and findings were met with much less than enthusiasm by medical colleagues. Think of all the millions of dollars that would not be spent on medications if simple glasses of water provided the cure!
I do not want to be a raisin! So, I am now consciously monitoring my water intake and making sure to drink more water. And, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can substitute coffee, tea, alcohol or other beverages for water. Yes, they do contain water but they also have dehydrating agents that rob the body of water.
What about you – are you a grape or a raisin?