Water is the most understated nutrient and drinking it in the right quantity has a wide array of health benefits, in fact many have even dubbed it the elixir of life. As we all know, water makes up almost 70% of the human body and acts on every single cell in the body to hydrate, detox, and maintain temperature which in turn helps one to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Integrity of Cell Structure:
Water is required to maintain the integrity of cells like hair, skin and nails, and to a certain extent it also helps in the production of collagen, which helps from a perspective of anti-ageing. Additionally, with regards to maintaining the integrity of the joints and the spinal cord, drinking water also works as a lubricant, which helps in reducing friction.
Maintains Body Temperature:
Maintaining fluid balance is key to maintain body temperature. For your enzymes to function properly, it is important that your body temperature is maintained, if not, most bodily functions can seize.
Burns Body Fat:
A number of studies have linked water intake with the reduction of body fat as consumption of drinking water has been shown to help drop the pounds and reduce weight.
Serves as the Best Way to Stay Hydrated and Rehydrated:
Thirst is the last sign of dehydration and hence it is absolutely vital that one drinks water throughout the day. Dehydration causes a drop in energy levels and causes the immune system to weaken. People who indulge in high octane and physically driven activities such as sports, tend to sweat a lot and being well hydrated at all times is a must. Extreme loss of water could cause cramps due to the inability to buffer the lactate built up. Endurance athletes and basketball players- tend to experience hyperthermia or even cause a drop in blood pressure due to the lack of water and extreme dehydration. Prompt rehydration is imperative whenever dehydration occurs be it from diarrhea, lack of drinking water, stomach flu, excessive medication use or if you are recovering from a night of drinking. Rehydration is possible by the oral route or by the intravenous administration of fluids.
In times of the pandemic, where most of us are working from the comfort of our homes, consumption of water rarely becomes a part of our to-do lists. While we juggle between unending virtual meetings, con-calls and assignments and household chores we tend to forget to drink water. In such scenarios, we need a constant reminder to drink water either by keeping a bottle of water by our side or using health apps to remind us.
Aids Digestion and Ensures the Upkeep of Oral Health:
One of the most common questions asked is ‘When is the right time to drink water? Before a meal? After a meal? During a meal?’. Drinking water at all these three times helps to digest the food better. It facilitates in the production of saliva which contains electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes that help in digesting food and allow for the upkeep of oral health. Digestion of food begins in the mouth and with age the production of saliva also reduces. If you feel your mouth is dry, increase your water intake.
Helps in Detoxification:
The most important function of water is to detox which in turn helps to build the immune system. Throughout the day, a lot of toxins are built up in the body be it environmental or through food amongst others. Detoxification happens through urine, faeces and sweat. Sweating also helps to maintain body temperature. With the onset of summer and most of us currently spending our time indoors, or in AC environments, drinking sufficient water throughout the day becomes highly imperative. Drinking less water may lead to constipation/ hard stools and kidney stones. Those who drink less water tend to void saturated urine and hence precipitate stones. One must drink adequate water to keep the urine dilute and also for healthy soft stools.
Additionally, one must consume enough water to maintain the consistency of the blood as it helps to transport nutrients to all organs in the body. This not only helps to boost alertness and do away with mental fatigue but also helps to increase the metabolic rate. Research conducted by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has shown that 500ml of water helps to boost metabolism by 30%.
Some cities are recipients of hard water and in such places, water should be purified and the easiest way to purify water is to have it actively boiling for 10 minutes. In places where boiling water is inconvenient, consumers should know their water and find ways to consume safe drinking water by having it tested for quality on a regular basis. This will help them stay healthy, hydrated, and strengthen their immune system.
(Article authored by Delnaaz Chanduwadia, Head of Department and Chief Consultant – Dietetics at Jaslok Hospital.)