Water-chemically speaking, is an inorganic liquid, it has no definite taste or colour of its own. Water is made up of Hydrogen and Oxygen molecules with a chemical formula H2O. While in liquid form it is water, when heated it converts to a gaseous form called steam, it precipitates as rain, clouds are essentially suspended droplets of water, when frozen into ice. It is present in all living forms and life cannot exist without water. Human body is 60-75% water. We can survive without food but wouldn't get past 3 days without water.
Top Reasons Why Drinking Adequate Water Is Important:
1. To stay hydrated, you have to have water. Just 4% water loss can lead to dehydration and at 15% it can be fatal. Mild dehydration can cause exhaustion and loss of concentration, irritability. Usually, our body has a well-connected system involving the brain, kidneys and other organs that regulate and keep the water levels in balance. When we take less water, the hypothalamus nudges the pituitary gland to release a hormone ADH, that prompts the kidneys to hold on to water, so the urine becomes dark. When you drink the adequate amount, the reverse happens, and the excess is flushed out.
2. Water helps create saliva, which is needed for breaking down food in our mouth. It also keeps the mouth free from infections. Less water intake may decrease the saliva production, causing a dry mouth.
3. Water is closely linked with keeping the body temperature at normal. In summer, we tend to sweat and thus loose water from the skin, to maintain the temperature.
4. It lubricates our joints and tissues, keeping movement easy and smooth.
5. Water helps throw out waste materials through sweat, urine and feces. It is the best detox drink.
6. Prevents constipation, when we are dehydrated the body reabsorbs fluids from the feces, making them hard.
7. It helps improve digestion and nutrient absorption by dissolving vitamins and minerals for transportation. Water carries all the nutrients to the various parts of our body.
8. It boosts the blood circulation, helping deliver oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body.
9. Drinking enough water prevents kidney stone formation, Urinary tract infections and hypertension.
10. Water is known to help in weight management. Scientific evidence has proven that being well hydrated helps lose weight more efficiently. Water boosts metabolism, helping in improving energy levels and weight loss. One study found that water boosts metabolism by 30%.
11. Last but not the least, a well hydrated skin is the healthiest skin. Dehydration causes cells to shrink, leaving the skin looking dull and wrinkled. Having adequate water means a healthy, bouncy skin.
So ideally, how much water do we need on a daily basis. There aren't any Recommended Allowances for water intake. The standard 8 glasses a day don't hold true for all. As a thumb rule 35ml/ kg /day is a good measure and in Indian summers it can increase to 45ml/kg/day. Every food that we consume also contains water. In fact, 20% of our water intake is supplied by the food that we eat.
Another indicator that you are drinking enough is when your urine is colorless. Dark urine, dry lips, thirst are all indicators to drink more.
Ayurvedic rules for drinking water are based on age, physical activity, stress levels. They do not believe in the 8 glasses/ day theory. Ayurveda suggests that
- Sip water through the day;
- Have less water with the meal or before so that digestive juices can work efficiently.
- Have water at room temperature or warm water rather than chilled water.
- Sit down and drink water sip by sip instead of gulping large quantities.
At the end I would also like to add that in addition to plain water, calorie free drinks like fresh lemon water, vegetable juices, clear soups and fruit or spice infused water are good for keeping the body hydrated in summer. Fruits and vegetables also add water to our body. Summer fruits like melon and watermelon comprise about 80% water and are low in calories.
On this water day, in addition to learning about our body's water needs, lets pledge to conserve water for our lives to exist.
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About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.