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ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

Published:Tuesday | August 4, 2015 | 8:00 AM

The body is made up of 65 to 70 per cent water. We lose a substantial amount of water daily, so we need to replace those losses in a timely manner. The systems of body require water to function optimally, so we should aim to drink enough water to keep well hydrated.

We lose water mainly through sweating, breathing, defecating and urination. When we don't drink enough water, our bodies conserve water mainly by concentrating urine, causing it to become darker. Inadequate water intake can have many deleterious effects on the body, so we should drink enough water to prevent the body from having to do this. Some authorities recommend that we drink about 1.5 to two litres of water, but this depends on the amount of water we are losing or are likely to lose.

In hot conditions and prolonged periods of exertion, for example, during exercise, we will need extra water. It is best to get pure water, as getting it from drinks and juices does not give the same benefit. It's also best to drink water away from meal times, half-hour before or two hours after, so as to prevent it from interfering with digestion.

Replacing drinks and juices with water can help in weight loss as it helps to cut calories. It's also important in preventing constipation as dry stool is hard to pass. It won't work by itself though, as soluble fibre and essential oils, both of which are present in whole grains, are also important.

Hydration important

Water can also improve your mood. A dehydrated person is more likely to feel depressed. It also may reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colon and the urinary bladder. Dehydration may make it more likely for you to have a headache, and in fact, some persons can get relief from a headache by drinking two glasses of water. Hydration also helps to keep the skin looking healthy and less wrinkled. It even seems that concentration and productivity are increased by improving hydration.

One very interesting result of improving hydration is a reduction in the risk of heart disease. Adequate hydration has been linked to a 40 per cent reduction in the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks, and this is particularly important for persons with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

The benefits of generous drinking of water are clear, so drink up!