The importance of water

importance of water

The human body can survive for weeks without food, but without water we would die within days

On average, our bodies are made up of between 65-70% water, though that raises even higher in very physically active people, such as athletes who have a higher proportion of muscle tissue and less fat tissue. water is our life source and the amount we drink is crucial to our health - yet many of us regularly drink too little.

Statistics show that as many as one person in four does not drink enough water and is dehydrated. We lose around3 litres (5.25 pints) a day through our urine, faeces, skin and breath, and although we absorb some water through our food, we need to drink 1.5-2 litres a day to replenish that loss. Too many of us drink tea, coffee or caffeinated fizzy drinks to quench our thirst, but large quantities of these actually have the opposite effect instead, not to mention the damage its doing to our bodies in other ways.

Ensuring that your body is well hydrated will help to keep your skin youthful, your eyes clear and your digestive system working well. It will also aid in the speedy elimination of toxins from your body and deter cellulite.

Are you drinking enough?

In hot weather, or when we exercise, our bodies dispel heat by means of sweating; during intense activity such as football or tennis, fluid loss can be more than 4.5 litres an hour, together with a loss of essential body salts such as sodium, potassium, calcium carbonate and phosphate. When you are power walking, particularly if you are taking part in a marathon or prolonged activity it is important to remember to increase your normal fluid intake.

Many experts in sports medicine believe that it is a mistake to use thirst as your guide and that by the time you actually feel thirsty you are already dehydrated, ideally you will rehydrate before you body needs to give you any signs.

Know your water

Drinking water is essential to maintain good health and it is better to drink water from any source than not at all. However, not all waters are of the same quality. The purer the source of the water the more you will benefit from it.

Filtered water – activated carbon and ceramic filters reduce the level of impurities in your water, including chlorine, heavy metals such as lead and sediments and they will remove the smell and taste of chlorine. Their effectiveness is dependent on the size of the holes in the filter; the smaller they are the better.

Purified water – the most effective means of purifying water is by an under-sink reverse osmosis system, which removes about 99.9% of contaminants in water.

Bottled waters – these come in many guises and it is useful to learn how to read the labels and become selective. Opt for water in hard plastic bottles or better still in glass as some types of plastics can leak chemicals into the water. Mineral water is thought to be the best choice because it is natural and untreated and must come from an official registered source. By law the label must show the mineral content. The content of Spring water varies from country to country and in some cases is a mixture of natural and treated water.

Carbonated water – carbon dioxide gas is added to water in order to emulate natural sparkling mineral water. The carbon dioxide inhibits the growth of bacteria, but once consumed it turns into carbonic acid which can contribute to acidity problems in the body.

Oxygenated water – has added oxygen. The premise is that this will somehow supply the muscles with additional oxygen, thereby enhancing performance. So far there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.

Bottled tap water – if the label states ‘from a municipal source’ or ‘ from a community water system’ you can be sure it is simply tap water!

Tap water – the domestic water supply in most developed countries is subject to more tests and monitoring than bottled water. However, many people are wary of the chorine used for disinfecting tap water as it can destroy the healthy bacteria in our guts. Pesticides and herbicides used at the source can also leak through into the water supply

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