THE NUMEROUS BENEFITS OF WATER AND THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF EXCESSIVE INTAKE
Ever imagined what it would be like if you do not have access to water for days or weeks? Unimaginable I dare say. Without water, there is no life really. Little wonder doctors came up with the eight glasses of water per day mantra. I personally became aware of the innumerable relevance and benefits of water when in my final year at the university, my lecturer gave me a very wonderful but voluminous book on water to read and summarize. I am a fast reader, but the volume and quality of the contents of that book did not let me race through it as I usually do. It was like discovering a gold mine and as I read on, I started practicing what I was reading and with the testimonies of people around and that of my body of course, I knew I was truly in possession of a gold mine.
For the benefit of some of us who do not yet comprehend how important water intake is to the human life, here are some of the benefits, bearing in mind that most components of the body including brain, muscles, and blood are primarily made up of water:
Water is essential in the effective working of the body.
It moisturizes the skin, keeping it fresh and supple and prevents dryness by detoxifying the skin.
Removes toxins and most of the waste products from the body thereby contributing to a healthy quality life.
Regular intake increases metabolic rate, improves digestive system and helps maintain normal bowel function thereby preventing constipation. Hydration can even solve the issue of already existing constipation. Do you know that when you do not get enough fluid into your body system, the colon pulls water from your stools to maintain hydration which then results in constipation!
Water helps protect our vital organs and helps them absorb nutrients better.
Since dehydration sometimes causes headache, water helps to relieve such headaches and back pains.
Lubricates the joints and muscles so one is less likely to experience cramps and strains.
Prevents renal and urinary infections because going to the toilet more frequently will help flush out the bacteria that causes them.
Regular water intake as against intake of sugary and alcoholic beverages helps keep the doctor away, and such ailments as diabetes at bay.
The list cannot be exhausted here but I encourage you to give it a try if you are not into it already and see things for yourself.
ADVERSE EFFECTS OF TOO MUCH WATER INTAKE
Yea, I know you are probably wondering if there is anything like too much water intake. Why not? after all, we often say that too much of everything is bad and that includes water.
There is water overdose and there is water intoxication both are adverse effects of too much water intake. Taking too much water over a short period of time does more harm than good to the body. Here is the explanation experts give on how excess water intake puts strain on the body:
Kidneys control the amount of water, salt and other solutes leaving the body. Thus, when one takes too much water over a short period of time, the kidneys cannot flush it out fast enough then the blood becomes water logged. These adversely affect the blood cells, the brain and the heart.
Aside this, the kidney in trying to filter excess water out of the circulatory system must work over time and this is not quite good for it.
Increasing total blood volume puts unnecessary burden on the heart and blood vessels.
BEST TIME AND QUANTITY OF WATER TO DRINK
Let water be the first thing you do in the morning as you wake up and also before you sleep because the body loses water while you sleep. The morning drinking helps to flush out toxins that accumulated through the night. However, drinking water, especially cold one during meals can impair digestion.
Drink little by little throughout the day and by the end of the day, the required amount would have been met without stress to you and your body system. Don’t go taking three/four cups at a go because they said you should drink more water. You will not only be uncomfortable, you will be visiting the toilet too often not to talk of the adverse effects discussed above.
Now, how much water should we take to best support our individual health?
(a) The environment each of us lives in is a deciding factor. Simple logic should tell us that those living in tropical regions need more water as a matter of necessity than those living in colder regions.
(b) If your job requires you to spend more time outdoors in the sun, you definitely need more water than someone working in the comfort of an air conditioned office. This also applies to athletes and those doing exercises that sweat more. They require more water.
(C) Diet also determines the amount of water a body requires at a point in time. If you eat plenty of foods that are naturally rich in water content like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, you may not need to take too much water. This is also applicable if you do not indulge in excessive salt intake or if you do not take at all, other food seasonings inclusive, your water intake does not need to be necessarily as high as those that do.
The bottom line is to drink as much as water as you can over time, being mindful of your lifestyle, environment, diet and so on in determining the amount best suitable for you. Drink even more when the weather is hot, when exercising and when sick even though that may be the least thing you want to take while ill but it helps your body recover from various infections.
It is also better to take water rather than soft and alcoholic drinks.
Be properly guided, it is not really how much you drink that poses problem to the body system, but how fast you gulp that water down.