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The worth of water

POSTED January 10, 2012 11:16 p.m.

According to the "Longman English Dictionary," a New Year's resolution is "a decision to do something better or stop doing something bad in the new year." Not surprisingly, New Year's resolutions generally serve only as broad ideals that individuals fabricate in an attempt to freshen themselves for the new time period; exercising more, controlling expenses, or simply behaving nicer constitute the main desires. Despite the truth that such resolutions rarely survive the temptations that unfold, and in this case the ones that may have already unfolded, incorporating the right amount of water into your body's system will always remain a worthwhile goal.
In the midst of the World Water Decade (2005-2015), life's most basic and universal necessity will once again be observed on March 22 under World Water Day. According to UN-Water, one of the United Nation's vital tools for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, part of the mission is "to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015 and to stop unsustainable exploitation of water resources."
When considering the hardships undertaken by most developing countries to simply locate an uncontaminated water supply, it continues to strike me as disheartening when a majority of individuals here think little of the blessing in the ready access we have to safe drinking water. This concept of not replenishing one's body enough with the clean water available is especially evident in the increasing number of adults and children who have recently suffered from dehydration or have experienced symptoms related to it.
As part of my decision to preserve my health and show my gratitude for the clean resources I have access to, I have been continuing the new year by paying my water intake the attention it deserves; I hope you will choose to follow suit.
However, such a desire would not be fulfilled without a thorough understanding of the best approach measures, as well as a noting of the necessary precautions. In the few days I've been given to experiment, I have seen how a large number of misconceptions and unrealized benefits inhibit one from paying more attention to replenishing his or her body's water supply.
In a July 2011 interview with ABC News, Dr. Wendy Bazilian professed that one's water consumption does not need to be solely ingested in the pure, liquid form we are most familiar with. By snacking on healthy fluid-filled foods such as fruits and soups, one can essentially eat a significant part of his or her water intake requirements. More of a catalyst to attend to your body's water needs should not be necessary after realizing that ordinary, everyday actions can easily contribute.
Surely, this all is not to say that consuming excessive amounts of water is a healthy action. A recent Washington Post article I consulted confirmed that superfluous amounts of water in one's system can cause cells to balloon, therefore inhibiting the flow of oxygen to the brain. Without a doubt, one should use his sound judgment when deciding his body's water intake limit.
This alludes to perhaps the most questioned aspect regarding water consumption for bodily purposes: whether or not the widely publicized "eight ounces, eight glasses" daily recommendation still holds true for all individuals. Signaling a shift in science from rough generalizations to more critical analyses, many medical professionals, such as Dr. Stanley Goldfarb and Dr. Margaret McCartney, now argue that there is little factual basis for the claim that 64 ounces of water is the ideal daily quantity for every person.
Perhaps the key, then, as Mayo Clinic suggests, is to adjust one's water intake according to conditions such as activity level, weather, and overall state of health. Beyond this, determining an "optimum amount" for each individual is best left in the hands of a physician and the person himself.
On a side not, it never fails to disappoint me when I observe how my generation finds more benefits to be reaped from a fruit juice or an artificial energy drink than an essential serving of water. I am equally disappointed by how fads such as the "water diet" distort the truths and lead this era's youth farther from forming wiser health decisions.
Please set a good example by starting the fresh, new year with fresh glasses of water.
- Henna Hundal is a high school student and resident of Turlock. She writes a monthly column on matters related to youth and our society.

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