Water has been indispensible to human life from time immemorial. It is one of the greatest free resources provided by Mother Nature on this Universe. Therefore, water is the elixir of life, which apart from keeping the body hydrated also helps to perform, feel and look better.
WHAT IS WATER?
Water is a natural inorganic substance consisting of H2O molecules. Following oxygen, water is the next most essential thing for existence. Almost two thirds of body weight contains water that is about 60 to 70% of the total body weight, with the maximum volume found in the human brain amounting to 95% water. The muscles, lungs and blood contain 75%, 90% and 83% water respectively.
ROLE OF WATER IN THE BODY
Water plays a vital role in the functions of the cells and organs in the body. Water is required to retain the body’s electrochemical balance besides keeping the cells hydrated. Lack of sufficient water supply in the body, by 2 % is likely to cause dehydration resulting in symptoms such as imbalances in blood pressure levels, constipation, dry skin, headaches, muscle spasms, renal problems, short-term memory loss, fatigue during daytime and extreme exhaustion. Most of the organs depend upon water for effective functioning such as formation of blood and tissue fluids hence vital for transmission of hormones, nutrients and waste products throughout the body. It also maintains equilibrium between concentrations of cells and fluids in the body.
BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER
Benefits of water for good health
Helps balance Ph range – Drinking sufficient water throughout the day helps maintain balance of 7+ Ph range within the body, thus enabling effective functioning.
Keeps dehydration at bay – Drinking plenty of water keeps the body hydrated thus reducing risk of symptoms pertaining to dehydration.
Enables Transportation of nutrients - Water facilitates proper bodily function through constant flow of essential nutrients throughout the body.
Regulates Body Temperature - Due to better absorption of water over other fluids, water helps regulate body temperature. This is because when sweat evaporates to the surface of the skin it releases heat which when combined with waters thermal properties helps maintains temperature control.
Prevents Muscle Fatigue – Imbalances in body fluids result in drying up of electrolytes that lead to muscle fatigue. Hence, drinking sufficient fluids during exercise is essential for active tissues, as they consume more fluids during physical performance by way of sweat and accelerates the oxygen intake.
Lubricates Muscles – Water helps cushion the joints protecting friction and enabling easy fluid movements. This is especially so in the case of the synovial joints and muscle tissues that needs lubrication for effective functioning.
Alleviates Pain – With suitable hydration, the muscles become more supple and elastic. This protects them from overstrain preventing pain in the joints. Nevertheless, dehydration in the body may lead to muscle spasm, aches and sprain.
Avoids sickness and promotes health – Falling sick depletes the body of water leading to dehydration. Hence, it would be wise to consume more water to avoid being sick.
WATER AS A NATURAL REMEDY
Headaches and Migraines Remedy – One of the main contributors for a headache is dehydration. Lack of sufficient water may not only be the main cause for headaches, migraines and dizziness, but it also acts a cure. The brain made up of mostly water is extremely sensitive to temperature changes and dehydration. This demands an increased supply of blood flow to the vascular system, to the face, tongue, skull and scalp resulting in dilated arteries. Besides these, alcohol, stress, increased temperature levels; dehydration may cause migraines, and headaches, which gives relief drinking 2 to 4 glasses of water.
Supports Brain Health – It is extremely essential to keep the body hydrated for effective functioning of the brain and processing information. The sensitive brain fails to function properly, even if there is a 1% shortage of fluids in the body. Hence, to avoid brain damage, sleep disorders, stress, depression and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), it is necessary to keep the body hydrated. Water promotes mental health and imparts a feel good factor lowering stress levels and psychological health such as depression. Apart from this, it restores energy, removes fatigue, improves concentration, mental alertness ensuring better productivity at work.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health – According to a study by the American journal of Epidemiology, patients drinking less of two glasses of water a day were more prone to heart attacks than those who drank five plus glasses per day. The study further reveals that only water has the ability to reduce risk of cardiovascular as opposed to other fluids like colas, caffeine and sodas, which increase risk of heart problems. Dehydration is one of the major factors contributing to blood and plasma thickness thereby increasing the risk of coronary heart diseases.
Prevents Bladder Problems – Although the urinary bladder flushes out the bodily fluids, it requires sufficient water for remaining healthy. A cavernous organ with flexible muscle fibres the urinary bladder can hold up to 750 ml of fluid, with an ability to expand without causing any damage. With an increase in the volume of fluids, it exerts pressure on the walls of the bladder, demanding flushing out the fluids. However, drinking six to eight glasses of water a day keeps the bladder free of bacteria and active protecting urinary tract infection. The presence of bacteria may cause other complications like renal problems as they are connected to the kidneys through the urethras.
Renal Health – The kidneys play a vital role as the heart and the lungs in the human body. The urinary tract, liver and the kidneys flush out unwanted waste through urine from the body. Nevertheless, any waste retained due to dysfunction of kidneys even for a day might lead to metabolic poisoning. In warm climates, lack of water might lead high concentration of urine consisting of undiluted minerals and salts that form solid crystals, called kidney stones. Besides these, there is also an increase in colour and odour, which makes the kidneys preserve some extra fluid for performing various functions of the body.
Digestive Health – Sufficient intake of water aids metabolism promotes digestion and prevents constipation. Water is essential to break down food into waste and pass through the digestive tract. A healthy combination of fibre and fluids is required for smooth functioning of the bowels. Lack of fluids in the body lead to dehydration, absorbing all the fluids leaving the colon dry thus resulting in constipation. Hence, regular consumption of water is essential to remain free from heartburn, gastritis and other related problems.
Reduced risk of cancer – Since water aids digestion process, it helps keep colon and bladder cancer away. With an ability to dilute the cancer causing agents in the urine, reducing the time they are exposed to the bladder lining.
Allergy and Asthma – Dehydration is one of the main causes of asthma and allergies. According to recent findings, lack of water vapour in the lungs may precipitate an asthma attack, by constricting the airways passage and producing mucous. Therefore, avoiding caffeine consumption and increasing water intake to 10-ounce glasses with a pinch of salt may act as an excellent remedy.
Vision Health – Adequate consumption of water benefits vision health. This enables proper moisturising and lubricating the cornea, which consists of 80% water. Hormonal imbalances cause dry eye syndrome in most women. Consuming eight to ten glasses of day helps find relief. (Also read how to take care of your eyes)
During Pregnancy – In order to support the growing baby in the womb and to deal with increased blood supply in the body women during pregnancy ought to keep their bodies well hydrated by drinking sufficient water. During times of breast-feeding women easily falls a prey to dehydration, hence it is essential to remain hydrated.
BENEFITS OF WATER FOR SKIN AND BEAUTY
Promotes weight loss – Water acts as an appetite suppressant, therefore consuming a glass of water before meals will help avoid over eating in addition to providing a feeling of fullness. Water also enables proper breakdown of fat leading to weight loss. Taking a glass of water may make an excellent replacement for calorie filled fizzy and carbonated drinks, which have a tendency to pile on the calories. Since most people confuse thirst with hunger, the temptation to binge on calorie laden fatty foods may be avoided.
Prevents wrinkles – Water keeps the body hydrated from within and without. It keeps the skin soft by moisturising, thus preventing fine lines and wrinkles caused due to dryness of skin. It increases the elasticity and suppleness of the skin, making it glow. (Read Tips for glowing skin)
Prevents Dark Circles – Water plays an important role in promoting circulatory health. Good rest coupled with adequate consumption of water prevents under eye dark circles keeping the eyes sparkling clear. It removes puffiness under the eyes, as it helps reduction of fluid retention in the body. Know more Home remedies for under eye dark circles.
Acne Cure – Water helps flush out the unwanted toxins from the body. This removes acne blemishes and promotes a clear flawless skin. Know How to get rid of pimples naturally
Water which is the fountain of youth offers both beauty and health benefits keeping a person fit, healthy and glowing. Therefore, drinking eight to ten glasses of water is essential to prevent dehydration. For people who sweat profusely and exercise heavily consumption of more than eight glasses is recommended.