The Link Between Health and Hydration

The importance of hydration for health is widely understood. However, most of us don’t realize that proper hydration goes beyond simply drinking enough water regularly. Hydration is the foundation of our immune system and our ability to resist disease and overcome it. In these times of global pandemic, being well hydrated may be one of the secrets to avoiding severe illness.

The amount of water in our bodies varies depending on the tissue. The heart and brain are 73% water, the skin 64%, and the bones are 31%. Overall, the human body is about 60% water. Without enough water, cells cannot reproduce, grow or survive; the brain cannot produce hormones and neurotransmitters; the digestive tract cannot break down and extract the nutrients we need.

Modern medicine encourages us to consume, at a minimum, eight 8 oz glasses of water per day. To put it another way, you should drink 64 oz (one-half gallon) of water from all sources per day. The water contained in food counts towards the total, but it is hard to measure. This recommendation is very general and doesn’t take some crucial factors into account, such as:

  • Age
  • Bodyweight
  • Overall health status
  • Activity level
  • Diet
  • Medication use

Classical Chinese medicine has understood the importance of water for thousands of years. Placing it in the broad context of Yin and Yang can add important layers of understanding to just how essential proper hydration is. 

In the next post, you will learn the view of classical medicine and how we can use its insights to improve our relationship with water.