How much water do you drink in a day? Think long and hard before you answer. And feel free to include tea, coffee, fruit juice, soda or any other beverage in this calculation as well. If you drink anywhere between six to eight glasses a day, then you're just about fine. If not, then you're in for trouble.
We know that water is central to our body's day-to-day functioning. When we exhale we lose water. When we sweat we lose water along with bodily salts like sodium, potassium and chloride, which are essential for biological functioning. These salts pretty much dictate all of the body's cell-to-cell communication including muscle operation, and are the reason why you get cramps and muscle contractions when you work out and don't hydrate yourself enough.
Not drinking enough water might not have any glaring immediate effects but if it becomes an everyday habit, then a while later there will be consequences - dehydration being a start. Dehydration is a condition that happens when you lose more bodily fluids than is required; and your water consumption is not sufficient to make up for the deficit.
How Does Your Body React? Signs and Symptoms
Without sufficient hydration, your body won't perform at its usual pace and you'll feel tired through the day. The lack of fluid and electrolytes in the body will result in a decreased blood volume, and your heart will have to work quicker, pump faster and make an extra effort to transmit crucial nutrients and oxygen to the brain, skin, muscles and different organs of the body.
Dull and droopy skin, the inability to focus, dizziness, confusion, lack of strength and lightheadedness are also some inevitable consequences of dehydration.
Inadequate oxygen supply to the brain leads to dilated blood veins, which in turn results in severe headaches. Also, your frequent mood swings and irritability are signs that your body is asking for fluids.
Kidney Stones - When you're dehydrated, minerals like calcium, oxalate, magnesium and sometimes uric acid, concentrate easily and settle on the kidney or the ureter (the track that links the kidney to the bladder). This crystalised mass gradually transforms into a stone. Over 70% of our muscles are made up of water but dehydration inhibits the muscles to function properly, burn fat, generate energy and initiate hunger. So, you're left with a considerably slow metabolism.
Why Water Should be Your Drink of Choice?
Water is involved in almost all biological functioning of the body, and healthy hydration triggers metabolism like nothing else. Research suggests within 10 minutes of water intake, body metabolism rate increases by 30% for both men and women. Sufficient water in the system makes the calorie burning muscles perform better and helps you distinguish between hunger pangs and thirst cues.
Dehydration also dips blood production and gives you fatigue. Keep a jug by your work table and continue sipping water all day. You will be surprised to see how fast water consumption relieves fatigue and re-energises you.
Like any other organ in the body, the skin which is made up of cells, too consists of water. But the water caters to the needs of all the other organs in our body before reaching the skin. So to avoid flaky, dull and wrinkled skin, you should down enough glasses of water a day. Water is also constantly at work to maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes in our body and prevent headaches and migraines. The presence of sufficient fluids in the body ensures easy digestion by hydrating the gastrointestinal tracks. It also facilitates us to get rid of toxins through urination, perspiration and regular bowel movements. Along with regulating body temperature, this magic fluid keeps sensitive tissues around the eyes, nose, mouth and ears moist. Staying hydrated is also essential to protect the spinal cord as water lubricates and cushions the intricate joints in our body.
How to Make Water Taste Better
Flavour, flavour all the way: Add a drop of lemon to the glass of water at your work table for a refreshing citrusy taste.
Fruit punch: Add some diced fruits like grapes, strawberries and oranges and leave them overnight. Strain it in the morning and relish it all day!
Pineapple calling: Soak pineapple chunks in water for at least 2 hours. Strain the fruits away and you have delicious smelling water by your side!
Juice it up: Pour a drop of fresh, unsweetened fruit juice for a splash of your preferred flavour, without junking on sugar.
Mint Burst: Add some fresh mint leaves and let them soak before you enjoy a simple water-mojito!
Spice mantra: Simmer a cinnamon stick in small amount of water. Add a few drops of the spiced water to your glass for an aromatic experience.