As living things, we need to remain hydrated in order for biological processes to take place. Water is vital for human life. There is a continuous exchange taking place so that the cells are always supplied with sufficient fresh water. Water is taken in via fluids and solid food with intake varying according to thirst, hunger and appetite. The proportion of body weight made up of water is dependent upon age and sex.
Water works as a beauty elixir for:
- shinier hair
- younger skin
- healthier body
Water is one of the very best diet aids and fat reducers:
- Suppresses your appetite
- Reduces sodium buildup and helps maintain muscle tone
- Helps the body eliminate waste and toxins
- Relieves fluid retention
- Reduces fat deposits in the body by helping the body metabolize the fat that is stored in the body
Now don’t be fooled by considering the coffee, tea or soda pop that you drink as part of your water intake, because if these products are caffeinated (and most of them are) it has just the opposite effect on our bodies. Caffeine acts as a diuretic to our system and actually results in water reduction to our bodies. The same applies to drinks with alcohol. If your drinking these items make sure you don’t count them as part of your eight glasses of water per day, otherwise, you will pay for it later.
Your body loses 2-3 liters (4-6 pints) of water each day through sweating and urination, more if you are hot or exerting a lot of energy. This water MUST be replaced. Drinking water is critical, if not dehydration will inevitably occur.
If dehydration is not corrected by fluid intake, eventually urination stops, the kidneys fail and the body can’t remove toxic waste products. In extreme cases, dehydration will result in death.
Symptoms of Dehydration
- mood changes and slow responses
- dry nasal passages
- dry or cracked lips
- dark-colored urine
- confusion and hallucinations.
Risks of Excessive Water Intake
This is RARE, but drinking too much water can also damage the body and cause hyponatraemia (water intoxication). If large amounts of plain water are consumed in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot excrete enough fluid. Hyponatraemia can lead to headaches, blurred vision, cramps (and eventually convulsions), swelling of the brain, coma and possibly death.
For water to reach toxic levels, you would have to consume many litres in a short period of time. Hyponatraemia is most common in people with particular diseases or mental illnesses (for example, in some cases of schizophrenia), endurance athletes and in infants who are fed infant formula that is too diluted.
Tips For Increasing Water Intake
In general, most people are not getting enough water. Drink up wnenever you can! If you find it hard to work into your day, you might try:
- Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to plain water to add variety
- Keep a bottle or glass of water handy on your desk or in your bag
- Add ice cubes made from fresh fruit to a glass of water.