Sunday, October 1, 2023

Stay Hydrated: Why is it So Important? QNET Knowledge Series

Water is essential for a human body to survive. For our body to function optimally, every organ and cell need water to remain hydrated. Up to 60% of an adult human body is made up of water. It acts as a base building material at the cellular level and is responsible for a host of benefits. The amount of water you need to drink in a day depends on your age, weight and gender. Other additional factors include the climate of the place you live in, level of physical activity or if you are undergoing any health problems. The drinking water count is usually more for athletes as they lose more fluids during heavy physical activities. It is safe to say that water is a very important part of the human system and there are so many functions that it performs in our body on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at the some of the primary responsibilities of water –

  1. There is so much more to water than just quenching your thirst and regulating the body temperature. It keeps the tissues in the body moist. When you are hydrated, you help your body maintain the desired amount of moisture in sensitive areas which include blood, brain and bones. Water is also integral in protecting the spinal cord and acting as a lubricant and cushion for the joints.
  2. Consumption of adequate amount of water helps your body release waste through the processes of perspiration, urination and defecation. With the aid of water, kidneys and liver flush the waste out of your body, just like intestines. Water can also help with your constipation as it softens the stool and enables the food to move through the intestinal tract.
  3. Digestion begins with saliva, which is made up of mostly water. The enzymes which are present in saliva help in breaking down food and liquid, and in dissolving minerals and other related nutrients. When digestion works properly, minerals and nutrients get more accessible to the body. Water also helps you digest soluble fibre. Water facilitates the fibre to get dissolved easily and ensures good bowel health by producing soft stools that are easy to pass.
  4. Your body loses fluids over the period of a day through your activities, heat or if you have contracted an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. It is important that you keep drinking water in such cases to restore body’s natural hydration levels. Drinking good amount of water is also recommended by doctors for people suffering from bladder and urinary tract infection.
  5. Water is also super important for skin. For the skin to be able to protect our bodies from UV radiation, toxic agents and microorganisms, it needs to stay properly hydrated. Hydrated skin remains flexible and keeps the protective barrier intact. When skin lacks hydration, it becomes broken letting environmental factors damage our bodies causing water loss, thus creating a harmful cycle.

How much water should you drink?

On an average, a person needs to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. However, this amount may vary from person to person; few people may need fewer than 8 glasses to stay hydrated whereas others may need more. The best way to check if you are hydrated enough is by checking your urine. If your urine is colourless or light yellow in colour, you are hydrated sufficiently. However, if it is dark yellow or amber in colour, chances are that you are dehydrated.

Water is the best way forward for hydration. There can be other drinks and foods too that can contribute to your hydration but they might have extra calories from sugar.  Common everyday food items like vegetables, milk, fruits, juices, herbal teas also add to the amount of water. Even caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee and soda contribute to the daily water intake even though they should be ideally had in moderation.

Since water is essential to many bodily functions, dehydration can prove to be dangerous. The bottom line remains that water is very important for nearly every part of your body. Achieving your daily water needs will enable you to maintain your equilibrium and it may also improve your overall health.

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It is always a good idea to get into the habit of drinking as much warm water as you can. It is also the best way to start your day – it cleanses your body, keeps your gut healthy, keeps your internal organs healthy, fights infections and makes you skin radiant. It is all the more relevant now, a time when we are witnessing more and more people being susceptible to viral infections, allergies and diseases. If the taste of warm water does not seem very appealing to you, you can add a twist of lemon to make it more interesting. It also makes for a pretty good winding-down drink at the end of a busy day. Stay hydrated, stay fit.

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