“I’m dying of thirst, literally!”
This might sound like a quotidian thing to say, but only a person desperate to quench their thirst fully understands the capacity of this sentence. Commonly known as H20 in chemistry: two parts hydrogen, and one part oxygen; water is by far the most commonly neglected superstar nutrient in the world. Any liquid consumed by the human body contains water, with or without other constituents. Solid foods, particularly fresh fruits, and vegetables contain high proportions of water, apart from a host of other nutrients.
In fact, almost all foodstuffs (except fat) contain varying amounts of water. For example, cooked rice contains about 70% water whereas cucumber contains about 97% water. When food metabolizes, the eventual by-products are carbon dioxide and water. The total water available from the oxidation of food is about 300ml/day (F. P. Antia & Philip Abraham).
The requirement of water is highly subjective, relative to climate, physical activity, dietary habits and existing medical conditions such as fever, urinary tract infection, constipation, dehydration and the like. Usually, 7 to 10 glasses (2400-3000ml) of fluids are considered adequate to sustain various bodily functions, the foremost one being urine volume.
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Water With Meals
This is a topic which is under a lot of debate and scrutiny. Nevertheless, consuming a moderate amount of water with your meal is known to pose no harmful effects. Soup, milk, lentil water, buttermilk and fibrous foods such as cucumber, tomatoes and fresh fruit contain a large proportion of water, but these are regularly had with meals and do not cause any negative outcomes.
Here are six reasons to make sure you’re drinking enough water or other fluids every day:
1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Bodily Fluids
The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature.
2. Water Can Help Control Calories
For years, people wanting to boost their metabolism have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.
3. Water Helps Energise Muscles
During exercise, it is recommended that people drink fluids at regular intervals to replace the fluids lost through sweat.
4. Water Helps Maintain Tonicity of Skin
Dehydration makes your skin look drier and wrinkled. This can be alleviated with optimal fluid consumption. Once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.
5. Water Helps Your Kidneys
When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in colour and is free of odour. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, colour and odour increase because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. If you drink too few fluids, you may be at a higher risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, especially in warm climates.
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function
Adequate fluid and fibre is the perfect combination, because fluid pumps fibre along, acting like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly. Water aids in different bodily processes such as digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination to the required extent. Drinking plenty of clear water is essential for your health and in fact, for your very survival. Your body can survive longer windows without food than it can without water.
How Does Water Support Weight Loss?
Drinking water is important for weight loss because it provides hydration and replaces unnecessary calories found in unhealthy snacks, packed beverages and fizzy drinks. Drinking water also helps flush waste from the body, which is especially important during times of fat metabolism and weight loss.
What Is Water Intoxication?
Anything in excess is inadvisable. Excessive water consumption can pose hazards, especially when swallowed rapidly. While kidneys hold the capacity to excrete only half a litre of fluids per hour, overhydration can cause what is called water intoxication.
The symptoms of water intoxication are weakness, lethargy, confusion, vomiting, coma and convulsion. The condition is treated by withholding water and by following a dry diet. This point is by no means a cause for alarm. It is only to highlight the need for moderation, whether in food or drink.
- The Importance of Water in Your Diet Plan, by Chris Iliades, MD
- 6 Reasons to Drink Water, by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD-WebMD
- Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition, by F. P. Antia & Philip Abraham
Must read– How Much Water To Drink When Pregnant?