By Margarita Nahapetyan
Water is vital for our bodies. Without it, nobody could survive more than a few days. Our body is estimated to be about 60 to 70 per cent water. Blood is mostly water, and our muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water as well. Human body needs water in order to regulate body temperature, and to transport oxygen to cells, it removes waste, and protects joints and organs. It is often claimed that drinking of water in large quantities has additional benefits for health, such as clearing out of toxins, preventing weight gain, improving our skin, or relieving headaches.
But there is very little scientific support for any of the above mentioned health benefits of drinking a lot of water. Without any question, people should drink when they feel thirsty in order to keep the body working in a proper way and to avoid dehydration. Other than that it is yet uncertain whether there are any extra health benefits to drinking.
We heard many times that we need to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. A thorough review of one study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, showed that there was nothing found to support this idea and it was concluded that no one really knows in fact how much water human organism needs. It is known that human bodies need plenty of fluid, but this can as well include milk, fruit juice, soft drinks and even the food. 20 percent of our water need come from the foods we eat. Those on a diet sometimes think that drinking water helps them to fill full, and therefore they want to eat less. There is very little evidence whether water can help reduce weight gain. People might eat less when they consume food that contains more water, but drinking water separately with food makes no difference.
Not much evidence was found whether drinking extra water helps our kidneys flush out toxins from the body. It sure might help the body to get rid of some substances, such as salt, for example. But so far, there is no finding to give us any proof whether this would result in any real benefits for kidneys or any other organs. Some people say they are having headaches when they are thirsty or dehydrated. One small study suggested that drinking lots of water might help migraine sufferers at some point, but only fifteen people have been examined, so it is very hard to make any conclusions based on that small research. As to our skin, again, there is no evidence about benefits of water in this case as well, though during dehydration drinking of water might make the skin a little more elastic.
We lose water through urination, respiration, and by sweating. People who are very active lose more water than those who are sedentary. Symptoms of mild dehydration include constant pain in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. Urine becomes of a yellow or amber color, has a very strong odor, which indicates that the body does not get enough of water.
So how much water is really needed for our body to be healthy? According to some sources a good estimate is to take the body weight in pounds and divide that number into half. The result will be the number of ounces of water per day that is needed to drink. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. After drinking alcohol one should drink at least an equal amount of water. According to The Food Standards Agency, the government body which gives advice on food and nutrition, for healthy adults it is enough to drink just when they are thirsty. They recommend people drink 6 to 8 glasses of any kind of fluid every day.
The major advantages of the water are that it contains no calories, which is important for those who are concerned about weight gain, and there is no sugar in water, which is a great benefit for maintaining healthy teeth. Sodas have a lot of sugar in them, so more calories than needed can be picked up. Herbal teas that are not diuretic are considered to be good to quench thirst. Sports beverages contain electrolytes and may be beneficial, just calories have to be watched here too. Juices are good because they have vitamins and nutrients. Beverages like coffee and tea, which contain caffeine are also counted to daily water need. And even though caffeine is a diuretic, if regularly consumed, it allows the body to regulate itself to that diuretic effect.
And one last advice. The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals ..not cold water. For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion. Once this 'sludge' reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal. Maybe it is time we adopt their drinking habit while eating!!! Nothing to lose, everything to gain...