Seventy per cent of the Earth is covered with water. At least 60 per cent of our country is covered with water. Half of our body weight used to be water. How much of life-saving water must we consume? There are many things to know about water.
What is the use of water?
Life in us is sustained because of water. For the body to eject harmful material, through sweat and urine, water is required. It is necessary for digesting solid food. Nutrients and oxygen reach the cells, only through water. Water is also essential to retain salts like sodium and potassium in the body, as well as for it to excrete waste smoothly, after digestion. A number of other metabolic activities, like lubrication of joints, their cushion, balancing body temperature etc., are carried out with the help of water. In fact, circulation of blood all over the body, happens with water. The juices in the lymph glands are essential for the immune system. These glands too contain water. Water can cure common ailments like headache, joint pains and fatigue.
Not taking water
Water is more essential to life than food. Without water we cannot survive beyond a week. But we can survive for up to a month, without taking solid food. The blood levels in body itself will drop, if adequate water is not consumed. In the first phase, due to dehydration (lack of water, salts), there is dizziness, irritability and headache. In the second phase, there is fatigue and vision will be blurred. In the last stage, there is dizziness as well as vomiting. If water is still not consumed, the patient enters coma and might die. Metabolic activities stop one by one, even as water level in the body decreases, gradually. It is important to remember that not just in summer alone, but even at other times, dehydration (fall in water levels) might occur.
Too much water
Over consumption of water leads to a condition called, Hyponatremia. It is caused due to drastic fall in sodium levels in the body. Due to high consumption of water, the cells are filled and are swollen. Because of this, brain cells are swollen and headaches, nausea, cramps occur and confusion takes place. It might even lead to fainting, fatigue, coma and death.
The rule is for healthy adults to drink at least six to eight glasses (medium size) of water, daily. But nutritionists say that the amount of water to be consumed depends on age, gender, physical activity, pregnancy, weaning mothers and several other factors like these. For example, those who are confined to AC rooms all the time, do not sweat. Water is released from the system, only through urine. Such persons should not consume more than 2.5 litres daily. Bengaluru nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood, says that if more water than necessary is consumed, its presence in the kidneys rises, leading to a condition called oedema.
Another nutritionist, Rupali Datta says that for every one kg. weight, just 35 mm water should be consumed in a day. Which means, 1.75 ltr of water should be consumed for 50 kg of weight. A person weighing 60 kg can consume 2.1 ltr daily. This quantity should be increased in summer. Because of heat and humidity, the body loses large percentage of water. That is why at least 20 per cent more water is necessary is needed during summer, than normal days. That too normal, clean water is good. Coffee, tea etc., are not alternatives to water. These, including alcohol, are antidote to the normal water levels in the body. From 400 ml. to 800 ml water can be consumed daily after waking. Those who undergo physical stress, should take three litres. It is very easy to test whether there is adequate water in body. If the urine is pale yellow in colour, it means that water is adequate. If it is dark yellow in colour, then water levels are low.
Taking water on empty stomach
There are many benefits in drinking water on an empty stomach, as soon as you wake up, early in the morning, doctors say. Not just cleaning the stomach, it also prevents many diseases. It cleans the large intestine and helps in further digestion of nutrients from the food. It also helps in giving a glow to the skin. Metabolic activity is boosted by taking water in this manner, experts say. It helps in production of cells. Also, there is weight loss. As we do not take water while sleeping at night, the water levels are reduced in the body. This is replenished when we take water early in the morning. Also, no food should be taken as soon as you drink water in this manner. You should wait at least for an hour.
Keep in copper vessel at night
Many believe in drinking water that was kept in a copper vessel overnight, to maintain good health. Copper is essential for certain metabolic activities. Even World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that you need 1.3 mg copper daily. It is obtained from milk, apples, bananas, fish and vegetables. In case there is any deficiency of copper, even after taking all these, a fourth of the actual requirement of copper is replenished by taking it from the copper vessel. This happens, as copper particles get in to the water. Some kinds of bacteria are killed by keeping water in the copper vessel. So this is also beneficial. In Ayurveda, it is believed that water kept for six to eight hours in a copper vessel overnight and consumed early in the morning, eliminates the effects of Vata, Pitha and Kapha doshas in the body.
Hot or cold water?
According to nutritionist, Dr. Neha Sanvalk, warm water activates the digestion system and reduces indigestion. Blood supply to the intestines is increased. Ayruveda says that this reduces constipation. Warm water helps in eliminating toxins from the body. It also prevents pimples and other such problems. Warm water also relieves throat pain, nose congestion and joint pains.
When cold water
After exercise, body heat increases. For this it is good to have cold water at that time. Never have warm water after exercising. Experts suggest that except at this time, it is always better to have warm water. Cold water should not be consumed while eating or later. Because of this, the body has to struggle more to increase heat. With this metabolic activity is reduced, leading to indigestion.
Dr. Anuj Srivatsava of Mumbai, expounded the following water mantra, for good health: Take 1 ltr water, as soon as you wake up in the morning. Take warm water, 40 minutes after breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fat is reduced with this. Sit while taking water. Never stand while doing so. If these three principles are followed, 99 per cent of the diseases are cured. He further says that it is important to maintain ph levels in the body. This is obtained by taking pure water. As our body has 7.4 ph, it is better to take water with 7.5 to 8.5 ph, as this will absorb the minerals and alkalinity well. This ph level is observed only in water obtained at Gangotri glacier, in Himalayas. Ph converter mater machines are also available, Dr. Anuj said.