Benefits of drinking water

Benefits of drinking water

by Sanjay B

The human body is about 75% water and 25% solid matter. The brain is said to be 85% water and is extremely sensitive to any dehydration or depletion of its water content. The brain is constantly bathed in salty cerebrospinal fluid.

Water: How Much and How Often?

A single-most effective prescription for well-being, improving health, disease prevention and potentially reversing of diseases. It is freely available, has no dangerous side effects and it is the medication your body requires when it is stressed.

Every 24-hours the body recycles the equivalent of forty thousand glasses of water to maintain its normal physiological functions. It does this every day of its life. Within this pattern of water metabolism and its recycling process, and depending on environmental conditions, the body becomes short of about 6 to 10 glasses of water each day. This deficit has to be supplied to the body every day.

(See also : Benefits of drinking hot water)

If you think you are different and your body does not need this amount of water, you are making a major mistake. The body uses up to the equivalent of 6 to 8 glasses of its total body water for essential functions. It needs more than half its weight in ounces of water per day – a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses. The same way you do not let your car run out of gas before you fill the tank, the body must not be allowed to dehydrate before you drink water.

Water or Fluids?

Naturally, we wonder why we should drink water, and not the pleasing and taste-enhancing beverages that are now the staples of our modern society. After all, they are made from water and do the job of quenching our thirst or at least we feel they do. In fact, many problems of bad health are founded on these misconceptions. As far as the chemistry of the body is concerned, water and fluids are two different things. As it happens, popular manufactured beverages contain some chemicals that alter the body chemistry at its central nervous system’s control centres. Even milk is not the same as water. Milk is a food and must be treated as food.

The body needs water; and nothing substitutes water.

Dangerous Effects of Caffeine:

  • Caffeine blocks the production of melatonin in the brain. The inhibitory effect of caffeine on melatonin production by the pineal gland of the brain seems to last 6 to 9 hours. Melatonin regulates the function of the body during sleep and induces sleep.
  • Caffeine inhibits the enzyme used in memory making, eventually causing loss of memory. It has shown to inhibit the enzyme phosphodiestrase, which is involved in the process of learning and memory development.
  • Caffeine can cause abnormal DNA by inhibiting the DNA-repair mechanism.
  • Caffeine attacks the brain cells’ reserves of energy and lowers their threshold of control, so that the cells over spend from their energy pool. It turns on many energy-consuming functions to the point of causing exhaustion. When the brain cells that have been influenced by caffeine confront a new situation that demands their full co-operation, they have a shortfall of energy. This creates a delay in brain response – hence exhaustion and irritability occurs after excess caffeine consumption. Caffeine may cause attention deficit disorder in young people who consume too much soda.
  • A cup of coffee contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine and a cup of tea or one soda has about 50 milligrams.
  • Chocolate also contains caffeine and theobromine which acts like caffeine.
  • Caffeine further dehydrates the body as it acts as a diuretic. The volume lost is more than the content of water in beverage.

Where do we go wrong?

The greatest tragedy is by assuming that dry mouth is the only sign of body’s water need. Modern medicine has pointed out other three confounding mistakes that have cost society dearly.

Let us look at these four mistaken assumptions.

1. Dry mouth is the only sign of Dehydration.

This false premise is responsible for the lack of understanding about various health problems that result in premature deaths. They suffer because they do not know that they are seriously thirsty.

Actually, dry mouth is not a sign to rely on. Dry mouth is one of the very last indications of dehydration of the body. By the time dry mouth becomes an indication of water shortage, many delicate functions of the body have been shut down and prepared for deletion. This is exactly how the aging process is established through a loss of enzyme functions. Thus body suffers from deep dehydration without showing a dry mouth.

2. Water is a simple substance that only dissolves and circulates different substances.

Water is not a simple inert substance. It has 2 primary properties in the body:

a. Life-sustaining properties

b. Life-giving functions

That is why chronic unintentional dehydration is ultimately an unrecognised life-threatening process. You need to recognize and understand the process to save your health and your life – Naturally by drinking water.

3. Human body can regulate efficiently its water intake throughout the life span of the person.

As we grow older, we lose our perception of thirst and fail to drink adequately, until the plum-like cells in vital organs become prune like and can no longer sustain life. We need to recognize the onset of dehydration and its manifestation to prevent the irreversible stage of the process.

4. Any fluid can replace the water needs of the body.

This is the major problem at present. Some of the manufactured beverages in common use do not function in the body like natural water.

The human body is a composite structure made of many different systems. All these systems are dependent on the various properties of water for their normal functions.

When there is not enough water in the body for all the functions to take place, DEHYDRATION sets in – proteins, enzymes of the body becomes gradually, but increasingly, inefficient. The individual cells in the zone of dehydration begins to function less efficiently until eventually the loss of cell function becomes permanent. In any state of free water loss from the body, 66% is lost from the cell content, 26% is lost from the fluid between the cells, and 8% is lost from the blood volume.

Research by Bruce and associates shows that as we grow older, from the age of twenty to seventy, the water content inside the cells becomes less than the amount of water outside the cells of the body. The water is gradually lost until the osmotic balance is reversed. This reversal of balance makes it gradually more difficult for our cells to absorb and hold water as we get older.

What is chronic dehydration?

Imagine a juicy plum picked from the tree and left exposed to the sun or wind – it becomes a prune. The dehydration of the plum produces the shrivelled interiour and wrinkled skin that are typical of a drying fruit. Therefore, loss of water causes the internal and external structures of living things to change, be that dehydration in a fruit or in a person.

Identifying Dehydration!!

The General Perceptive Feelings: These include tiredness, irritability, anxiety, dejection, depression, sleeplessness, heavy headedness and having irresistible cravings, fear of crowds (enochlophobia), feeling flushed, etc.

What water has to do with Asthma and Allergy?

Asthma and allergy conditions are important indicators of dehydration in the body. These are treated with different antihistammes. Histamine production and its activity increase greatly in dehydration, and this generates the emergency thirst signal. Increased histamine release in the lungs cause spasms of the bronchioles, making them constrict. This natural spasmodic action of histamine on the bronchial tubes is part of the design of the body to conserve water that normally evaporates during breathing – the winter ‘steam’.

Blood Pressure and Dehydration

The problem of blood circulation becomes apparent if the diastolic pressure rises well above or falls well below the normal range. If it rises above the range, it means the heart has much more pressure to work against when forcing blood into the circulation. The blood vessels of the body have been designed to cope with repeated fluctuations in their blood volume and the circulation requirements of the tissues they supply. They have tiny holes or lumen that open and close to adapt to the amount of the blood inside them. In water loss from the body – rather, lack of sufficient water intake – 66% of the deficit is reflected in the volume of water held in some cells of the body. Initially, peripheral capillaries close down, and eventually the larger vessels tighten their walls to keep the blood vessels full. This tightening leads to a measurable rise in tension in the arteries. This is called hypertension.

Constipation and its complications

The intestinal tract uses much water to break down solid foods. It has to liquefy the dissolvable components of solid foods to extract their essential elements, whatever can be dissolved is then absorbed into the blood circulation and transferred to the liver for processing. The more the body is in need of water, the more there is a determined effort to reabsorb the water that is available in the intestines. This process puts a drastic squeeze on the refuse to separate its water content and make it available for re-absorption by the mucosa of large intestine. The more the body is dehydrated, the slower the motility of the lower intestine in order to allow time for re-absorption of the water content of the refuse. When the passage of refuse from the large intestine is slowed down, the muscosa absorbs the water and the faeces become hard and not fluid enough to flow. The act of expulsion of solid faeces becomes difficult. To prevent this process from taking place, added intake of water and some fibres that hold the water better seems to be the only natural solution to constipation. Remember that haemorrhoids, diverticuhtis and polyp formation are common occurrences with chronic constipation. Chronic dehydration and its consequential constipation are primers for cancer formation in the large intestine and rectum.

Headaches and Migraine: The brain is very sensitive to the dehydration and heat regulation of the body. When there is water shortage in the body and there is potential for getting dehydrated, brain establishes a priority for itself, it allows more blood to flow through its vascular system. The blood vessels to the brain – the carotid arteries – take root from the main artery of the heart, the aorta. The carotid arteries supply blood to the scalp, face, tongue before they pass into the skull to supply the brain.

When the command for increased supply of blood to the brain forces these arteries to dilate, the circulation to the face and the scalp also increases. This is the reason why some headaches begin with strongly pulsating arteries around the temples.

When there is dehydration in the brain area – whether caused by the sufficient intake of water, stress, alcohol or overheating of the body – the action of histamine causes the pain, we know as a headache or migraine. To alleviate this type of pain, 2 to 4 glasses of water may have to be taken.

Dehydration and Obesity

A simple solution to obesity is of interest to many people. I think if we understand the relationship of overeating to the dehydration of the body, we will also understand how to prevent obesity. There are two general sensations associated with eating habits. The one for food is often termed hunger pang. The second is a sensation for thirst. Both are felt in the same area and are brought about by histamine. It is easy to confuse the two signals and to think we are hungry when we are really thirsty. We mistakenly think we are thirsty only when the mouth becomes dry. This signal for water intake is a last-stage situation and is often seen after heavy eating. The best way to separate the sensation of thirst from that of hunger is to drink water (1/2 hour) before food. In some animals, this order is maintained. Animals make an early morning visit to a water source before going into the field for grazing, even when vegetation with high water content is their diet. In humans, the reverse has become a habit (bed coffee in early morning). We often first take food and then water and sometimes only after the body gets thoroughly dehydrated by the intake of solid foods that use up the available free water in the body.

The next desirable step is shedding of already gained fat. Increased water intake by itself will begin to reduce some of the gained weight. About 8 to 14 pounds may be lost in less than three weeks. This immediate weight loss will be from the collection of edema fluid that is stored in the tissues to operate the reverse system of water delivery into vital cells.

Dehydration and Brain Damage

Diseases of the nervous system are devastating. For example, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, autism and attention deficit disorders.

Some of these conditions are produced by persistent dehydration in the body. We need to understand the role of water in the nervous system to realize how easily some of the above mentioned problems – those are not the result of accident or injury, but are gradually establishing degenerative conditions. An advantage of preventing brain disease by keeping the brain optimally hydrated is that water increases the brain’s efficiency for processing information. The brain is extremely sensitive to water loss. It is said that the brain cannot tolerate even 1% loss of water. If it were to be dehydrated to the point of being only 84% water for long, then brain would not function properly. Nerve cells in the brain are one-time living units. They do not give birth to daughter cells in the same way as the other cells in the body. Thus, dehydration that affects a brain cell to the point of causing it damage will leave a permanent mark.

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