Sure you know all about it – Our bodies are made up of more than 70% water, it’s important to stay hydrated, etc etc. And sure, you carry your bottle of water everywhere and take sips whenever you remember to.
Most people take it for granted that their bodies will signal when they’re thirsty. But surprise, surprise – By the time the feeling of thirst kicks in, the body’s already experiencing the beginnings of dehydration.
It was earlier recommended that people drink eight glasses of water daily. Then a report came out that this wasn’t strictly necessary – eight glasses were simply too much!
So what’s the truth about why, how, when and how much water you need?
Drinking Water Facts
- Signs of Dehydration: If you don’t normally recognize that you need water, look out for these signs: headaches, little/no/dark-colored urine, dry mouth/lips, fatigue/sleepiness, dizziness, lack of tears, sweat.
- Body Fluids Balance: Your body – the tissues, muscles, skin, cells, organs etc – needs water to function. Water also helps to lubricate the joints, maintain the fluid levels in saliva and other secretions that aid digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Transportation: The blood transports nutrients through the body and helps maintain body temperature. Water also helps the passage of wastes and harmful bacteria through the intestines and dissolves minerals for better absorption. A drop in the level of water can cause an imbalance. If you suffer from constipation, a glass of warm water first thing in the morning can do the trick.
- Fluid Loss: Day or night, the body is losing water-content through sweat/urine/feces. But did you know you also lose water when you breathe? Small amounts of moisture are present in the air you exhale too. That’s why it’s crucial to balance this fluid loss with regular intake of water. It can be in the form of juices, milk, tea/coffee, fruits, soups, broths, fresh vegetables, etc.
- It’s Personal: Though the eight-glass rule has been largely put aside for now, scientists feel that individual fluid needs can vary. Age, how active, how much you sweat, what other fluids you take and your body’s own metabolic rates determine your water needs. Seniors are sometimes reluctant to drink too much water because they feel like going to the washroom too often, causing a range of infections and health conditions.
- Kidney Function: Our kidneys are amazing! They process nearly 200 liters blood everyday and transport the waste as urine to the bladder. They need to be kept in good working-order with lots of water. Water also prevents kidney-stone formation. Ensure that your urine is free-flowing and pale in color by drinking water.
- Energy and Brain Function: Hydration-status and electrolyte-balance have a strong bearing on brain function. Energy-level, mood, concentration, emotions, working-memory and brain performance are directly affected by hydration. Stay fresh and alert and feel less grumpy!
- Headaches: If you’re a headache sufferer, it could be because you’re dehydrated. Certain types of migraine and digestion-related headaches are due to lack of water. In other types, water could reduce frequency and intensity.
- Hung Over? If you’re feeling the effects of a binge, it’s because alcohol is a diuretic and causes your body to lose water and contribute to hangovers. Sip water between drinks and some more before bed.
- Weight-Loss: Water increases satiety and boosts metabolism minus the calories. Water before a meal leaves you feeling more satisfied and less inclined to binge. Drink the water cold, so that your body uses energy to balance the temperature drop.
- Disease prevention: Studies have shown that staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon, bladder and breast cancer. Water is also helpful in pain prevention. Fight arthritis by keeping the joints well-lubricated. Cartilage around them is 80% water and dehydration causes them to shrink, leading to joint pain and inflammation.
- Look younger: Water keeps your skin looking fresh, elastic and glowing, improves skin color and texture by building new cells, getting rid of wrinkles and fine lines due to aging. It’s also great for hair and nail health.
- Schedule: If you have trouble remembering, you don’t live in a very warm climate or you don’t experience feelings of thirst, schedule your water drinking. Drink at fixed times or sip a small amount every hour. It’s a good idea to fill a couple of bottles in the morning and ensure that you’ve emptied them by bedtime.
Every day, scientists and nutritionists are discovering newer and more enormous benefits of drinking plain water? It’s a vital for our survival and health.
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