The hype around water is worth it because Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature.
Water is a colourless liquid. It is composed of hydrogen and oxygen (H20) and is vital for life, although it supplies no calories. Drinking adequate amounts of water, or staying hydrated is the first rule of health and nutrition. Our bodies can supposedly last weeks without food, never without water. This makes sense when you realise our bodies are made up of about 60 per cent water and that being dehydrated can affect us both physically and mentally.
Just as around 71 per cent of the planet’s surface is covered by water, around 60 per cent of the body is made up of water.
It lubricates the joints:
Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 per cent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
It forms saliva and mucus:
Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consumed instead of sweetened beverages, it can also reduce tooth decay.
It delivers oxygen throughout the body:
Blood is more than 90 per cent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
It boosts skin health and beauty:
With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
May help prevent and treat headaches:
Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines in some individuals.
Headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. What’s more, some studies have shown that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience frequent headaches.
May prevent constipation:
Water helps to ‘keep things moving in the digestive system, so staying hydrated may help prevent constipation.
May support the health of the urinary system:
Poor hydration may increase the risk of developing, or the recurrence of kidney stones, in some individuals. Studies have also shown that drinking adequate amounts of water may reduce the risk of bladder infections and urinary tract infections, including cystitis, in women.
So, how much water should you drink a day?
The daily four-to-six cup rule is for generally healthy people. It’s possible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems, or if you’re taking medications that make you retain water.
How much water a day should you drink if you fit into that category? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Water intake must be individualized, and you should check with your doctor if you are not sure about the right amount for you.
But even a healthy person’s water needs will vary, especially if you’re losing water through sweat because you’re exercising, or because you’re outside on a hot day. If you’re wondering how much water you should drink on those occasions, speak with your doctor, but a general rule of thumb for healthy people is to drink two to three cups of water per hour, or more if you’re sweating heavily.
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