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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do not ignore water.

Cheers for water!


Just as a car cannot run without gas or oil, the body cannot work without water

Water is the only drink for a wise man — Henry David Thoreau

For human lifewater is the most important compound. Water is second only to oxygen in importance to the body. It is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the human body. Just as a car cannot run without gas or oil, the body cannot work without water.

Hydrate your systemMost of us drink less water than what our body optimally needs. If the body is not sufficiently hydrated, the cells will draw water from the bloodstream, thus burdening the heart. Even mild dehydration prevents the kidneys from effectively purifying the blood. Minor health conditions such as constipation, dry and itchy skin, acne, sinus problems and headaches may develop as a consequence.

Make a conscious effort to drinkthe requisite amount of water, 8 to 10 glasses a day, and watch your health improve. Glowing skin, greater immunity and a re-energised body are the bonuses you will get to enjoy.

On an averagemost people consume only about 4 glasses of water — make a concerted effort to increase your water intake.

Tip:Each morning, when you wake up, mix the juice of half a lemon in warm water. Sip slowly, giving your body about 30 minutes to digest the warm lemon water before breakfast. This helps in stimulating bowels plus the lemon is a good source of vitamin C.

Did you know?

Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body

A mere 2 per cent drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focussing on smaller print, such as a computer screen.

Fruit and vegetable juices, coconut water and herbal teas add to the fluid intake, while tea, coffee and alcohol have a diuretic effect and therefore lead to water loss.

We lose about 1.5-2 litres of water on a daily basis. Water leaves the body through the following ways: urine, faeces, sweating and exhalation.

Water Works

This is what water does in the body

Is water the best drink for a workout?

In most cases, yes. If the water lost is not replaced, it will lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes like sodium, chloride and potassium are lost in sweat as well, and therefore need to be replaced. When we sweat profusely, our fluid requirement increases.

Unless your workout is continuous and prolonged beyond an hour, sports drinks give no additional benefit over water. Sports drinks contain 5-8 per cent carbohydrates as well as necessary electrolytes. Beware of consuming concentrated juices or beverages immediately before, or during the workout, as it can cause nausea, abdominal bloating or abdominal cramps.

Water also transports nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. Maintains the electrolyte balance. Maintains body temperatures. Moistures the skin and makes it look younger. Necessary for all digestive, absorption, circulatory, and excretory functions.

How much water to drink?

Drink at least eight glasses daily. Drink more water – 10 to 12 glasses a day, if the weather is very warm or dry; if you are exercising, or taking certain medications.

If you drink alcohol, drink an equal amount of water.

Water Woes — too little, too much

Too little leads to dehydration, the symptoms of which are headache, constipation, yellow coloured urine, joint pains and lower back pain, fatigue, hunger pangs and hormonal problems.

Too much can be disastrous too! Water must be taken in balance with the body’s electrolytes. Excessive water intake disturbs this balance.

Excess water, also known as water intoxication (usually over 5 litres) can also cause problems. Though it is not common, it is something to be aware of. If the water content of the blood increases drastically, the salt content gets diluted. Hence, the quantity of salt available to body tissues decreases, which can lead to problems with brain, heart and muscle function. Symptoms like dizziness, nausea, apathy are observed.

Water Wonders

Weight Loss: The best nutrient for weight loss is water. It has no fat, no calories, no carbohydrates, no sugar. It is a great appetite suppressant. Often when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. Drink plenty to help your weight-loss regimen.

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.

courtesy: "The Hindu" Metro plus dated 29th Oct. 2009

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