During my diet conversations when I ask “are you drinking enough water? ” I hear a “NO”. When we further try to understand the “Why?” behind it; some of the top reasons which we come across are:
- I don’t feel thirsty too often
- I forget
- I am busy, no time to get up and fill the water bottle
- I don’t drink tap water at work
- I don’t prefer to pay for packaged water
- I don’t like the taste of water
But do these reasons outweigh the benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated?
People commonly respond to the FAQ on name the nutrients with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and some do tend to scrape up to vitamins and minerals as well. But as usual we are missing out on the most abundantly available and crucial nutrient – “WATER”, a nutrient that is taken for granted but can do wonders if taken in the right way.
Why is drinking water important for our body?
Water constitutes around 70% of our total body weight. All cells contain water, but in different quantities. Interestingly, muscle cells (70-75%) contain way more water than the fat cells (10-15%). Every cell and organ depends on water for crucial functions:
- Structure, function and protection of the cells, tissues, organs and systems
- Transportation of nutrients and oxygen to cells and removal of waste and toxins.
- Maintaining blood volume , blood pressure, circulation and heart’s pumping.
- Role in saliva and enzymes production, and metabolism of nutrients
- Regulation of normal body temperature
- Urine formation and regulation of kidney function and bowel movements
- Lubrication of the joints
Why do we need to stay hydrated?
It is essential to maintain the water balance of our body, the balance between the water gain (water and food intake and metabolism) and water loss (sweating, losses through skin and lungs, urine, feaces). In our day to day lives, often despite healthy food intake, water intake in missed out on. In this poor hydration scenario, the cells start losing water, the water losses exceed the water intake, resulting in a negative water balance and dehydration. Dehydration is a serious condition, and could cause an array of issues ranging from reduced energy, focus, headache, dizziness, fatigue to serious heat stroke. Poor water intake could also increase the risk for disorders like – kidney stones, generalised body ache, low blood pressure, weight gain etc.
Remember : Thirst is not a signal to drink water, but it is the danger signal indicating dehydration. It is essential to drink the right amount of water, in a right way at a right time. Drinking 1-2 litres of water in one go wont be beneficial as the excess water will be excreted. Instead try sipping water throughout the day to reach a goal of 2-3 litres by the end of the day. Also, higher the muscle mass, higher would be the water requirement. Caution: In clinical conditions such as kidney function failure and severe heart diseases, there are restrictions on total water intake calculated based on the condition.
Dr. Monal Velangi