Over 60% of the human body is composed of water. Water assumes the status of a nutrient for carrying out many of vital functions. Apart from replacing the amount lost each day through sweating, respiration, urine and stools, water forms the medium for all our digestive juices, brain fluids, blood and enzymes.
When water intake does not match our output, the body becomes dehydrated. Urine becomes scanty and dark, tongue becomes dry, eyes sunken, the pulse thready and blood pressure low. Thirst is the body’s way of signalling that we need more water. If not replenished, weakness and failure of organs can follow, sometimes leading to death.
The amount of water we need to drink depends on several factors. People working outdoors in hot dry weather conditions may need to drink 15 to 20 glasses of water as they incur huge losses through invisible perspiration.
Here are some reasons why you should ensure that you drink enough water.
1. Dieters know well the value of water drinking in weight loss strategy. A very fit film actor of 70 who looks half his age, once told me that he has been drinking 18 to 20 glasses of water every day since his teens, and kept attributes his slim fit figure to this habit.
2. Water is a good remedy for fatigue and tired muscles. When water moves out of muscle cells, they shrivel and become flaccid. Drinking water, sometimes along with salt and electrolytes, helps restore their turgor and strength. A small tip here: many people drink water only when they feel thirsty after exercise. A healthier way is to drink lots of water in anticipation before you embark, on say a jog or marathon.
3. The difference between a glowing smooth skin and a wrinkled dry one could often be due to water. Good hydration ensures healthy skin turgor.
4. Water is essential for the health of our kidneys. Wastes and toxins are removed from the body by the kidneys through urine and water is the medium through which this is done. Consumption of adequate amounts of water not only helps keep the body clean of wastes but prevents stones from forming in the kidneys.
5. People with constipation often do well if they increase their intake of water and fiber. The latter tends to hold the water in the gut, preventing stools from getting hard.
Do not wait for thirst to remind you that you need a drink of water. Start the day with 3 large glasses, and drink 5 to 12 glasses a day. Weight watchers should drink 2 glasses before meals. And if your urine looks dark, it is a reminder that you need to step up your water consumption.
Cheers to a drink of water.