BY SOLA OGUNDIPE

Water is essential to good health and to life itself, with no controversy. Without water, none of the important body functions such as flushing out waste, regulating body temperature or brain function would be possible.

Water is important to nearly every part of your body and it is essential to your overall health. You get most of your water from drinking beverages, but food also contributes a small amount to your daily water intake.

Saliva

Water is a main component of saliva. Saliva also includes small amounts of electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes. It’s essential for breaking down solid food and keeping your mouth healthy. Your body generally produces enough saliva with regular fluid intake. However, your saliva production may decrease as a result of age or certain medications or therapies.

Temperature regulation

Staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining body temperature. Your body loses water through sweat during physical activity and in hot environments. Your sweat keeps your body cool, but your body temperature will rise if you don’t replenish the water you lose. That’s because your body loses electrolytes and plasma when it’s dehydrated. If you’re sweating more than usual, you need to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Protection of tissues

Water consumption helps lubricate and cushion your joints, spinal cord, and tissues. This will help you enjoy physical activity and lessen the discomfort caused by conditions like arthritis.

Aids excretion of waste

Your body uses water to sweat, urinate, and have bowel movements. You need enough water in your system to have a healthy stool and avoid constipation. Your kidneys are also important for filtering out waste through urination. Adequate water intake helps your kidneys work more efficiently and helps to prevent kidney stones.

Physical performance, weight loss

Drinking plenty of water during physical activity is essential. Hydration also affects your strength, power, and endurance. You may be more susceptible to the effects of dehydration if you’re participating in endurance training or high-intensity sports such as basketball. Negative effects of exercise in the heat without enough water can include serious medical conditions.

Extreme dehydration can cause seizures and even death.  Drinking more water while dieting and exercising helps you lose extra pounds.

Aids digestion

Drinking water before, during, and after a meal will help your body break down the food more easily. This will help you digest food more effectively and get the most out of your meals. The body manages changes in the consistency of food and stomach contents, whether more solid or more liquid.

Nutrient absorption

In addition to helping with food breakdown, water also helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food. It then delivers these vitamin components to the rest of your body for use.

Oxygen circulation

Water carries helpful nutrients and oxygen to your entire body. Reaching your daily water intake will improve your circulation and have a positive impact on your overall health.

Fights illness

Drinking enough water can help prevent constipation, kidney stones, exercise-induced asthma, urinary tract infections, and hypertension among others. Water also helps the absorption of important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from food, to increase your chances of staying healthy.

Boosts energy, cognitive function, mood

Drinking water may activate your metabolism. A boost in metabolism has been associated with a positive impact on an energy levels. Proper hydration is key to staying in tip-top cognitive shape. Not drinking enough water can negatively impact your focus, alertness, and short-term memory. Not getting enough water can also affect your mood. Dehydration may result in fatigue and confusion as well as anxiety.

Prevents overall dehydration

Adequate water intake will help keep your skin hydrated and may promote collagen production.

Dehydration is the result of your body not having enough water. And because water is imperative to so many bodily functions, dehydration can be very dangerous.

Severe dehydration can result in severe complications, including swelling in your brain, kidney failure, and seizures.

Make sure you drink enough water to make up for what’s lost through sweat, urination, and bowel movements to avoid dehydration.

Generally, you should drink around 8-10 cups of water or 2.5 litres to 3.0 litres daily. You obtain around 20 percent of your daily water intake from food and the rest from drinking water and water-based beverages. Increase your water intake if you’re exercising to avoid dehydration.

Dehydration red flags

Your level of thirst and the colour of your urine can indicate if your body is receiving adequate hydration. Urine that is dark or colored indicates dehydration. Pale or non-colored urine typically indicates proper hydration. Other warning signs are:

* Persistent headache: One of the first symptoms, when you’re dehydrated, is a throbbing headache. If it is dehydration, it should go away shortly after you drink a large glass of water.

*Sluggish bowel function or constipation: If you don’t get enough water, hard stools and constipation could be common side effects, along with abdominal pain and cramps.

*Dull skin: Dehydration shows up on your face in the form of dry, ashy skin that seems less radiant, plump, and elastic.

*Fatigue: If you’re not replenishing your fluid intake, your energy levels could drop and you could experience fatigue and brain fog.

*Weight gain: You may mistake thirst for hunger and eat more when you really need to drink more. A glass of water often stops hunger cues.

*Dry mouth: If you’re not getting enough water, you can have a dry mouth from a lack of saliva. This can make it difficult to talk, swallow, and even breathe.

Hydration tips

*Carry a water bottle with you so that you can drink whenever the need strikes.

*Keep track of your intake. Aim to take in a minimum of half your body weight in ounces.

*Try to take in half of your recommended consumption by midday and stop drinking about an hour before you plan to sleep.

Whatever you do, make sure you get in those six to eight glasses, otherwise, dehydration could cause a whole host of problems.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.