Water is the most important ingredient in the body. About 60% of the human body is water, and the heart and brain are almost 70% water, while the lungs have about 80% water. A healthy adult should be drinking about 2.5 to 3 L of water on a daily basis.
That being the case, it is not surprising that someone who does not drink enough water faces multiple issues. The severity of the symptoms also depends on how much the dehydration has set in. It is easier to correct these in the initial stages by just increasing the water intake. When left to progress, in addition to forcefully drinking water, other symptoms may also need to be treated.
1. Metabolism: The body’s overall metabolism is reduced with less water intake. This means that the body’s ability to remove wastes and flush out toxins is reduced. There is more toxin accumulation within the body, leading to chronic diseases.
2. Digestion: Water is essential for the digestive process and motility of the colon, and lack of this can lead to motility disorders. Constipation is one of the first side effects of not drinking enough water.
3. Temperature regulation: The water helps control body temperature, and lack of water leads to increased body temperature. The associated symptoms also follow with poor circulation, low blood pressure, increased heart rates, general lethargy, lack of focus, and low energy levels.
4. Increased sugar levels: Sugar breakdown requires water, and lack of it can lead to greater levels of sugar in the bloodstream.
5. Poor skin: Skin requires water for optimal texture and tone, and lack of it can lead to dull, sagging skin which can be difficult to maintain, leading to cracks and even bleeding in severe cases.
6. Mental effects: As noted, the brain is almost 70% water, and not drinking up enough water can lead to lack of focus, delirium, and even unconsciousness. In severe cases, it can lead to hypovolemic shock and seizures.
7. Kidney stones: The kidneys are important excretory organs and help remove wastes and toxins from the body. For this to happen, water is an important medium. Not drinking enough water leads to stone formation, which is accumulated waste, which could not be flushed out due to lack of water.
8. Continued shortage: If water shortage continues, there could be swelling of the brain, kidney failure, coma, and even death.
Drink adequate amount of water, and see the life inside you come alive. It is a habit which is definitely hard to kick. Those who are used to regularly sipping water can feel their cells craving for water when they have not gulped down water for a while.
Sit at the dinner table, and you'd find yourself invariably extending your hand to the glass of water on the side of your plate. While you may think it's absolutely necessary to have a glass of water during your meals, the truth is this habit of yours might be damaging your health. Read on to find out how.
1. It Dilutes your Gastric Juices - When the digestive acids (acids responsible for the digestion and breakdown of food as well as for killing infectious agents ingested with food) present in your stomach are diluted with water, they bring about a slowdown in the functioning of your entire digestive system. This slowdown results in food remaining lodged in your stomach for a longer period than normal, thereby causing indigestion.
Additionally, the reaction caused by the dilution of water and stomach acids can give rise to cramps in your tummy.
2. It Reduces the Saliva in your Mouth - The same thing that happens to the acids in your stomach, happens to your saliva as well. Water dilutes the saliva, which stops the breakdown of food in your mouth. Also, your saliva is responsible for stimulating your stomach to release digestive enzymes and prepare itself for the process of digestion. By drinking water with your meals, such signals sent by your saliva to your stomach become much weaker. All these together can make digestion very difficult.
3. It Causes Acidity - Studies show that drinking water with your meals not only leads to the dilution of digestive enzymes, but also brings about a reduction in the secretion of digestive enzymes. This causes the undigested food in your stomach to leak into the lower part of your oesophagus (food pipe), causing acidity and heart burn.
4. It increases insulin Production - Sipping on water in the middle of lunch (or any other meal for that matter) causes a spike in your insulin levels just as glycaemic foods (foods with high starch or sugar content such as honey, potatoes, white bread, rice to name a few) would. When your body is unable to digest food properly, it usually tends to convert the glucose filled part of that food into fat and stores it, reason why your blood sugar levels see an upsurge.
5. It Adds to your Weight - Since drinking water causes an increase in insulin levels in your body (as the food you eat is converted to fat), it can result in the piling of extra weight on your body. This is because a weak digestive system is one of the major causes behind obesity.
Try having your meals with less salt and drink water 30 minutes before each meal to control your thirst when you're eating. This can help you in controlling the negative effects that drinking water with your meals can have on your health.
Our digestive system is made up of a complex set up of organs, enzymes, secretions and much more. In order to ensure that they all function in tandem with each other so that our digestion works properly, we need to take many measures. Solid food and liquids both go hand in hand when it comes to digesting your food properly. Water is one of the main elements that one must ingest regularly during the day so that the body remains hydrated and the stool also softens. It is also a digestive aid. Yet, there are two varied schools of thought when it comes to drinking water during one’s meals. While some people say that it is good, there are others who say that it should not be practiced. So let us find out whether having water during your meals is a good thing or not.
If we are to look at water during a meal from the perspective of our stomach acids, then most doctors will tell you that there is no problem in having water with your food. The main doubt here is whether or not the acidic fluid flowing through our stomach may become too diluted with the consumption of water. However, this does not happen. Various medical studies conducted by reliable hospitals and sources under a controlled environment have shown that the stomach’s pH balance is not affected by the consumption of water during a meal.
While the stomach acids may not suffer due to consumption of water during a meal, there are other schools of thought where people refrain from drinking water with food so that better digestion may be achieved. But this is also not entirely true. Digestion is well-known for being a complicated process where many elements need to work together for its proper functioning. This function includes a comfortable and healthy body and state of mind after one has a meal. Therefore, it is more important to have the right kind of food at the right time in a proper environment instead of rushing through one’s meals and eating junk all the time.
Constipation and Overeating:
Drinking water during the meal can help in curbing constipation as it helps in softening the stool. It also helps in clearing the food from the digestive track in a better and timely manner so that the toxins and stool do not remain there. This is due to the fact that drinking water during meals keeps the digestive track well-lubricated. Also, when you drink water with your meals, you tend to avoid overeating as water fills up substantial portion your stomach. Further, water has important nutrients that can suffice for your nutritional requirements along with food. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
Salt makes for an essential nutrient and if consumed in an optimum amount, it has many benefits to offer. It is said that it is one of the best ways to detox our body. In fact, Ayurveda is said to have used salt water, or saline water, to cleanse stomach, intestines and colon, while repairing the damage that our diet has caused to the cells in our digestive tract. While there is no scientific explanation or study that has proved this theory, it has been a favourite solution that has been able to keep health woes at bay. So, if you haven't known already, let's find out what pros and cons saline water has to offer. According to Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "Saline water is something that I wouldn't recommend using regularly unless it is coupled with lemon and a dash of sugar. In some cases, it can be used to treat dehydration or even over dilution or over-hydration, which means excess water in the body tends to dilute the levels of sodium in the body. Saline water should be consumed under supervision."
According to the book 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad, "Salt water remedy is perfect for those who suffer from a kapha type of headache. All you need to do is to mix a teaspoon of warm water in one eighth teaspoon of salt to make a thick, concentrated solution. Put three to five drops of this saline solution in each nostril. This helps to drain and unclog the sinuses and relieve the headache."
According to the Colon Cleansing and Constipation Resource Centre, drinking a saline solution may help clean out your digestive tract. It acts as a laxative, too. Most people use it as a cleanser, which is designed to help you clean colon and digestive system by bringing on a forced bowel movement.
Saline water maybe important for extreme athletes after a heavy workout in hot weather due to extremes in both fluid and sodium losses.
So, Does It Mean You Can Consume It Daily?
According to Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Datta, "You may be better off drinking plain water. Plain water itself has certain nutrients that keep you well hydrated and healthy, also solving any digestive issue."
Caution: Saline water shouldn't be consumed by high blood pressure patients. Plus, it is advised to not consume it regularly as it may cause an overload of sodium in the intestines. The solutes in our digestive tract may prevent our body from absorbing water, which is what may cause the condition, further causing an electrolyte balance.
How To Make Saline Water At Home?
A simple way to make saline solution is to take a clean container and put a cup of water and half a teaspoon of salt into it. Boil the solution for 15 minutes with the lid on. Set the container aside until cooled to a room temperature. Store it in a glass container and consume it under strict supervision.
Older people who indulge in physical activity should increase their amount of water intake, to reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise, researchers suggest.
Dehydration has been shown to impair exercise performance and brain function in young people, but less is known about its impact on older populations.
The findings showed that hydration boosts performance on test of executive function that includes the skills needed to plan, focus, remember and multitask following exercise.
Exercise has been shown to improve intellectual health, including executive function.
“Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise,” said researchers including Brandon Yates, of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, US.
The study, presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2018 in San Diego, explored the association between hydration status before exercising and exercise-enhanced cognition in older adults.
The team recruited recreational cyclists (average age 55) who participated in a large cycling event on a warm day (78-86 degrees F).
The cyclists performed a “trail-making” executive function test–quickly and accurately connecting numbered dots using paper and pencil — before and after the event.
The team tested the volunteers’ urine before they exercised and divided them into two groups — normal hydration and dehydrated — based on their hydration status.
The normal hydration group showed noticeable improvement in the completion time of the trail-making test after cycling when compared to their pre-cycling test.
The dehydration group also completed their post-cycling test more quickly, but the time reduction was not significant.
“This suggests that older adults should adopt adequate drinking behaviours to reduce cognitive fatigue and potentially enhance the cognitive benefits of regular exercise participation,” the researchers said.