Our body is over 60 percent water. The brain itself is 75 percent water. Water is essential for life, as much so, if not more than the water in our car battery. It is part of every cell. It helps to regulate temperature, moisten tissues and organs, lubricate joints, carry around minerals and oxygen and nutrients, and flush out waste products.

Dehydration is a major concern here in the desert. A person can last only about three days without water, though many factors may reduce that time, such as heat, physical activity, age and body type. The consistency of urine is a quick and effective way to monitor hydration. Typically, the darker it is the more dehydrated you are.

We lose water through breathing, sweating and digestion. Therefore, it is important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. All “drinkable” fluids cannot be considered as healthy water sources. Many fluids such as flavored drinks and coffees, teas, energy drinks often contribute to dehydration rather than hydration.

Water “as found in nature” has the same biological advantage over “processed water” as do plants and air “as found in nature,” suggesting a synergistic imperative for optimal human function. By this is meant, the term “water,” as used in everyday language, is not simply the basic molecule of H2O (an oxygen atom with two hydrogen atoms attached to it). “Natural water” connotes a liquid consisting of H2O that has been cycled through evaporation from the earth’s surface to accumulation in the clouds which then rains back to the earth where it runs through streams to rivers to aquifers collecting a multitude of minerals that all work to keep the complexities of the human body functioning. This harmonious synergism found in water and plants and air, that was once established on this planet for optimal human function, has been thrown askew by the very byproducts of recent human advancement, most notably the industrial revolution. Along with the “natural” minerals collected on water’s journey to our bodies there are a multitude of impurities with varying levels of toxicity. Fortunately for us, the human body has thus far shown enough resilience to adjust adequately to these relatively recent imbalances seen in the essential resources for life. With that in mind, we can do our best to recognize the essentiality of water and make choices about what we put into our bodies and how we preserve this essential element for our descendants.

Water covers our planet, of which less than 3 percent is drinkable. The optimal source of drinkable water would be spring water from a source near to one’s primary habitat. Otherwise, spring water in general is a balanced source. Then one might consider mineral waters intended to compensate for other imbalances in our life resources. Distilled water has the advantage of being reduced to simple H2O, thus eliminating contaminants. However, it does also eliminate the essential minerals which then must be attained from food or “off the shelf” products at a market.

We tend to take water for granted. Water may soon become more valuable than gold as the environmental influences of modern times dramatically reduce the availability of drinkable sources.

Dr. Miles practices Naturopathic Medicine alongside other holistic practitioners at the Catalina Clinic of Integrative Medicine in Catalina, Arizona. www.catalinaclinic.com