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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
|Source: Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group|
The importance of water
It's one of the most simple things we can do when it comes to looking after our bodies, yet so many of us are guilty of not consuming the recommended amount of water each day. While living in a hot region like the UAE, this can not only be bad for our body's general well-being, but can be a dangerous decision that could lead to dehydration, heatstroke, headaches or fainting.
Consisting of up to 70 per cent water, our bodies thrive on regular hydration. But do you know the various ways in which the human body utilises the water you consume? Read on to find out.
The body gets its fluid from three main sources: drinks, solid foods - especially fruit and vegetables, and as a by-product of chemical reactions within the body. Most adults need to consume between one and a half to three litres of water a day, so you should be aiming to drink six to eight medium glasses of fluid daily, distributed gradually throughout the day.
While pure, natural water is the optimum way to consume your daily quota of fluid, beverages such as tea, coffee and fruit juices do also count towards your fluid intake, and may even bring with them other nutrients or benefits.
A person will require more fluid if they are physically very active or if they live in a hot climate, such as the one we have here in Dubai. The best way to judge whether you are consuming enough is by the colour of your urine. If it's a pale straw colour then your fluid intake is probably fine, but if it is dark yellow and strong-smelling, you will probably benefit from drinking more.
As the summer heat begins to blaze in Dubai, a cold glass of water can make you feel instantly cooler. However, its effects on body temperature go deeper than the initial thirst quenching properties. The human body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the skin's surface - which is why you can go red when you are hot - resulting in more blood flow and a larger amount of body heat being dissipated into the air. When you're dehydrated, however, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to widen, so you stay hotter for longer.
Drinking water can help you lose weight because it flushes out the by-products of fat breakdown. Drinking water also reduces hunger, in fact, many people can often feel hungry when in fact they are simply thirsty. A glass of water can act as an appetite suppressant if consumed before a meal, as it fills the stomach so you'll eat less. Plus, as all dieters will know, water contains zero calories.
When a person is dehydrated, their skin can become less elastic. If this carries on for a long term, the skin could lose elasticity permanently and more quickly than a person who stays well-hydrated. Less elasticity in the skin is is different than dry skin, which is usually the result of soap, hot water and exposure to dry air, although being dehydrated can influence the skin's dryness also. While drinking water won't prevent wrinkles so to speak, maintaining the elasticity of your skin will help it to age better.
Staying hydrated has a positive effect on the brain. It keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation intact. When a person is well-hydrated, scientific research has shown that they are able to think through a problem more easily than a person who is dehydrated. Researchers has suggested that this could be due to the fact that not having enough water could reduce oxygen flow to the brain, could temporarily shrink neurons, or simply that being thirsty could be a distraction.
While all organs in your body rely on water, your kidneys in particular need enough water to filter waste from the blood and excrete it via the urinary tract. Keeping well-hydrated may also help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If a person becomes severely dehydrated, the kidneys may stop working which in turn could cause toxins to build up in the body and possible long-term risks such as kidney disease.
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