Water. It makes up two-thirds of the world, and 70% of the adult human body. Next to air, water is the most essential element required by the human body. Needless to say, water is important for health in many ways.
The role of water in the human body
1. It regulates body temperature and removes excessive heat through the evaporation of sweat.
2. It keeps the acid-alkaline balance of the body in check by regulating pH.
3. It is a part of our cellular composition and hence is crucial for the proper functioning of cells and tissues.
4. Water is important for health because it aids the system in the transportation of nutrients, as well as the removal of wastes in the body.
5. It cushions and lubricates the joints, and protects the brain and spinal cord by acting as a shock absorber.
6. It keeps the skin hydrated
7. It regulates appetite and can help with maintenance of weight
What happens when you don’t drink enough water
Not drinking enough water leads to dehydration of the body. The skin, mouth and eyes grow dry. You can develop headaches due to decreased blood flow to the brain, and feel dizzy or disoriented. You face digestive imbalances, your energy levels go down and your blood pressure can drop. If you work out while dehydrated, you can get severe cramps and even heat exhaustion. So clearly, water is important for health and you should not ignore thirst. In fact doctors say that whether you feel thirsty or not, you should ensure that you drink water at regular intervals through the day.
How to ensure that you are getting enough water
Now that you know that water is important for health, you should aim to follow a routine that ensures you get the required hydration every day. Doctors recommend anything from 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day. This means roughly eight glasses a day. Here are some ways to do this:
1. Download a reminder app on your phone and set up hourly reminders to have water. This way you won’t forget to drink water while you are at work. I use a free app called Daily Water, but you can use any from the multitude available.
2. Keep a bottle at your desk. Fill this up before you start work for the day, and aim to finish it by afternoon so that you can refill it.
3. Start your day with a glass of water, and also have a glass of water before every meal. It will keep you hydrated and also help you keep your weight in check (additional benefits!)
4. Remember that alcohol is dehydrating in nature. If you have had a drink, you will need to up your water intake that day to make up.
5. Certain foods are also hydrating in nature and can add to your daily water intake, e.g. watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers etc.
6. Tea, coffee, soup – all contribute towards your daily water intake, but should not be seen as the primary sources of hydration
In our busy lives we can often get preoccupied with work and other things, and forget to do these small but important tasks to take care of our bodies. Now that you know that water is important for health and your overall well-being, do take a moment to check your own habits in this regard.
How do you ensure that you get enough hydration through the day? Do share your comments and best practices below.
Images courtesy Unsplash