Saturday, December 1, 2007

Drinking Water for Health

We know that walking by the water or jumping into the sea makes us feel good. We know that water is the most refreshing drink when we are thirsty and that it is the one thing we want when we have overindulged or have been drinking alcohol! It feels good to stand under gentle rain and feel the drops on our face and skin. Some cultures celebrate the arrival of rain, knowing how precious it is for survival. And we know our children are fascinated by water as they love to play in it, watch it move and feel it on their bodies.

We all want to be connected to water in some way. Throughout history, water has been revered as sacred. It is magical, mysterious and powerful. And it is absolutely essential for life. While you could survive without food for weeks, you cannot survive long without water.

A large majority of your body (about 70 per cent) is made up of water. You need water to carry waste products around and out of your body. It is used as a medium in many processes like digestion and absorption. Water helps dissolve nutrients so they can pass into the bloodstream via the intestinal walls. It also helps lubricate your body as well as regulate your body temperature with perspiration, cooling the body as sweat evaporates on the skin.

Diet Start

1. Balancing your fluid levels

One of the most intricate balancing acts your body achieves is balancing your fluid levels. Too little water and your cells dehydrate, too much water will burst the cell walls and destroy them. In maintaining a healthy fluid equilibrium a group of substances called electrolytes play a vital role. Electrolytes are mineral compounds consisting of sodium, potassium and chloride that dissolve into electrically charged particles called ions. These ions create electrical impulses that allow cells to communicate with one another. This enables you to carry on everyday functions like thinking, seeing and moving.

If your body is not getting enough water, it will let you know swiftly. Thirst and less frequent visits to the toilet are the first signs of dehydration. If you don't drink enough water you can harm your body and brain. Body functions and processes may not occur as efficiently, causing stress, physical ailments and even depression. Because your body continually loses water through everyday processes, you need to constantly replenish it. You can get water from many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.

2. Drinking water for health

Here are some tips for increasing your water intake and improving your health:

1. Start the day with a glass of water, or squeeze the juice of a lemon, grapefruit or orange into a cup of hot water. Add a small teaspoon of honey if you wish. Nutritionists recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day. We say aim for at least four 250 ml glasses and increase your fruit and vegetable intake. If you do manage eight, well done.

2. Listen to your body. If you feel dizzy, have a headache or are fatigued, try reaching for a glass of water before taking conventional drugs.

3. Drink a glass of water half an hour prior to a meal rather than during it. This will aid digestion and not dilute digestive juices.

4. Drink a glass of water if feeling stressed. This will help balance body fluids and can calm you down.

(Coffee and tea are not considered sources of water. They contain caffeine, a chemical stimulant, which puts unnecessary stress on the body. Replace with herbal teas or green tea, which is low in caffeine and high in antioxidants.)

3. Not enough water

There are certain times when your body needs more water — such as when you are sick and have a high fever, when you are suffering vomiting or diarrhoea, or when you are perspiring lots due to hot weather or physical exertion, and also if you have high blood pressure.

4. Quality of water

It is not only the amount of water you drink, but also the quality of water that is important. Most city water goes through treatments before arriving in your kitchen tap. Their goal is to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria and parasites. However, the water may still contain unhealthy elements. Problems can stem from waste dumping, which then leaches into the water supplies. Pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals used on the soils can also find their way into your tap water. Continual exposure to even tiny amounts of these toxins can produce adverse reactions. Some common effects are irritation and skin conditions, but there can also be rather subtle effects on the metabolic reactions within your body associated with growth and immunity.

Boiling water, water filters and distillers all help eliminate toxins and bacteria. It is essential that you check with the manufacturer how good the filter is and what it can do before investing money in one. We highly recommend using a good-quality water filter if you are concerned about the quality of your local water.

... andjoyohoxing