Hold on! Wait a minute!! That soda is not going to quench your thirst, if anything it’s going to worsen it. Yeah! You guessed right water is a better alternative; in fact it’s “the perfect fit” Thirst is actually the last outward sign of extreme dehydration.
Yep, its a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Thirst
is the body crying out for water! Further problems often develop when instead of water you opt for soda pop, coffee, some “fruit juices” which in fact are loaded with sugar or alcohol-containing beverages to quench the thirst. While these beverages contain water, they are actually dehydrating fluids. Not only do they eliminate the water contained in them, but they also cause you to lose further amounts of water from your body’s reserves! Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 70 percent of your body weight.
Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Without water, we’d be poisoned to death by our own waste products. If there isn’t enough water, wastes are not removed as effectively and may build up as kidney stones. We even need water to breathe; our lungs must be moist to take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. It is possible to lose a pint of liquid each day just exhaling. Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days.
Yet most people have no idea how much water they should drink. In fact, many live in a dehydrated state.
Signs of Dehydration
- Heartburn, stomach ache
- Non-infectious recurring or chronic pain
- Low back pain
- Mental irritation and depression
- Water retention (ironic but true!) If you’re not drinking enough water, your body may retain water to compensate. Paradoxically, fluid retention can sometimes be eliminated by drinking more water, not less.
So before you run-off to pick up anti-malarial drugs from the nearby pharmacy or de-worm the kids again, you might want to find out if you and your family are drinking enough water.
So how much water is really enough?
How much should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answers. There have been varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. The general recommendation for hot/humid areas is about 3 litres (about 13 cups) of water a day for men and 2.2 liters (about 9 cups).
If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need a little extra to compensate for the fluid loss. About 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake.
Expecting and Nursing mothers need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used up, especially when nursing. It is recommended that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids a day.
What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, Food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent or more water by weight. In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soda can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake.
Water is still your best bet because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available. To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice.
- Drink a glass of water or other low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise.
Interestingly, Proper water intake is a key to weight loss. “If people who are trying to lose weight don’t drink enough water, the body can’t metabolize the fat adequately. Retaining fluid also keeps weight up. Another good reason to drink water. So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a glass of water, don’t wait till you’re thirsty.