Why are therapists always advising you to drink more water and telling you how beneficial it is for your body? Well, it's because our bodies are made up of approximately 90% water and water is needed for almost all bodily functions, such as circulation, digestion and excretion, so the more you drink the more effective these systems are!
Did you know that water forms 90% to 92% of blood plasma - essential to allow the transport of blood, with its oxygen and nutrients, to our cells and the removal of waste from our bodies such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
Water makes up 96% of our urine and is therefore essential for excretion and the removal of waste. If your urine darkens in colour it means that it has a high concentration of waste in it (this could lead to kidney stones) and is a sure sign that you need to drink more water to flush the waste out. Normal water balance in the body produces pale yellow urine.
Water enables us to sweat - an excretory function – and helps to control the body's temperature. During the extreme heat of the summer, sweating can cause the body to lose in excess of 15 glasses of water a day!
Water is part of our saliva and gastric juices which help us to digest food. Very often, the body's need for water is misinterpreted as hunger pangs.
Bones contain approximately 25% water, muscles approximately 75%, so a lack of water leads to dry, brittle bones, stiff joints and a loss of muscle strength, power and speed. As a result, the skeletal/muscular systems become vulnerable to damage. Water is therefore vital for the well being of these systems. Water also lubricates our joints and protects the organs and tissues.
The body requires at least 1.5 litres of water a day to prevent dehydration – which occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. Did you realize if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated? Symptoms of dehydration include: Chronic fatigue; Lethargy; and Headaches. In the long term you could suffer from skin problems, rheumatoid pain or anginal pain.
One point to remember is that it is possible to drink too much water – if you drink at least 5 litres over too short a period of time you will get water intoxication. The sodium levels in the blood become diluted making the cells swell which in turn can cause nausea, headaches, confusion and in very rare situations, a coma.
Finally, water that is still and served at room temperature is better for the digestive system than carbonized, or very chilled water. Having said that, if you can only drink it cold, better to do that than drink none at all!