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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are you drinking enough water?

"Water is life," you have always heard. But few people take this phrase seriously. In fact, given between a soda and glass of water, many go for the former. Many people do not drink enough water and the consequences of this can be severe. People often think that drinking cups of tea, coffee or even alcohol makes up for not drinking water. Experts say this is wrong. Instead of quenching your thirst, these drinks can actually make you feel more thirsty.

And you don't have to wait to get thirsty to drink water. Water it actually your lifeblood. Nutritionists have now and then stressed the importance of water. Doctors have since established that many people don't take enough water even when they have been advised to drink at least 7 to 8 relative glasses of water a day.

Water makes up about two-thirds of our body weight, doctors say. That accounts to 60 percent to percent of water in your body. If that doesn't explain how vital water is to your health, what does?

Eight glasses?
Some nutritional experts say: "For years, we have been told that we should drink a "minimum" of eight litre glasses of water each day. If one's goal is to maintain a "minimum" level of health this "eight glass" rule is correct.
If our goal is to achieve an enhanced level of health, we must consume some level of water above our minimum daily needs."

The experts continue to say that the world we live in today is much different than it was 70 years ago when this rule was first published in medical journals. Each day, we are exposed to a multitude of toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants that didn't exist 70 years ago. We live more hectic and stressful lifestyles. We consume processed and preserved foods. All of these factors require an increased intake of healthy water to offset the damage.

Is there a thing as too much water? "Yes," doctors say. And that it is called hyponatremiaToo much water might distress your body's fluid stability. Drinking more that your kidney can contain will cause your body cells to swell, and you may feel drowsy, weak and suffer convulsions.

The Dietitians Association of Australia recommends the average adult drinks at least eight glasses (2 L) of fluid per day, and more during hot weather and physical activity. This however, doesn't mean drinking glass after glass of plain water. There are plenty of other sources of water in your diet though your daily ration should be made of plenty of water.

What is too little?
There are dangers if you persistently drink too little. You will get dehydrated and before you know, you will be crying out in pain when you visit the toilet due to constipation.

"It takes only small changes in your overall fluid levels to destabilise your system and bring about the symptoms of dehydration - as little as 1-2 percent of your body weight can do it. If you were 20 percent or more dehydrated, you would die," reads one website. Signs that you are drinking little include headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, flushed skin, heat intolerance, a dry mouth and eyes, a burning sensation in the stomach and dark urine with a strong odour.

How to tell you're not drinking enough
A simple way to check is to keep an eye on the colour of your urine. It will be yellow in the morning, but should become paler by mid-morning. If it doesn't, you are not drinking enough.

When you should drink a lotSome of the circumstances that call for drinking a lot of water are: being exposed to high temperatures and air conditioning, physical activity, pregnancy, breastfeeding, when you have fever, diarrhea or have been vomiting. The body loses so much water which needs to be replaced to keep fit.

Keeping a bottle for water with you when you are working, travelling or exercising is essential. Unlike juice, it is polite for one to easily get out a bottle of mineral water and drink in public. Nutritionists say that if you get bored with plain water, add a bit of lemon or lime for a touch of flavour.

"There are some brands of flavoured water available, but some of them have sugar or artificial sweeteners, which you don't need," they say.

Water is the fuel of our bodies and chemical reactions going on in our cells need it. It is also common for people to complain about hangovers after a hectic weekend. Unknown to these people, it's because their bodies are not watered well. Yet just a good glass of water before sleep, is enough cure for hangovers.
The good news for the ladies is that drinking enough water will give you the spotless smooth skin you so crave, as well as leave you with a lithe, sexy body. This applies to men who would rather do without potbellies.

Drinking enough water keeps you fresh; in fact doctors say it's rare for a person who drinks enough water to have bad breath. It's even more important for sports people and whoever exercises to drink enough water every time they are playing. You probably have seen Arsenal striker Thiery Henry running to the sideline to sip on his bottle of water as the match goes on.

Doctors also advise that those who take alcohol should drink at least an equal amount of water. Pure, boiled plain water is the best water for drinking. Soft drinks like sodas contain a lot of sugar while tea increases the discharge of urine and urine is mainly made up of water.

Having looked at all this, it is prudent to keep a bottle of drinking water nearby. But don’t drink glass after glass, remember, we also get some fluid from the food we eat. Really, isn't this enough to prove that water is life?

Compiled with additional information from the Internet. Published in Sunday Monitor, December 2, 2006