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 Post subject: Water – one of the body's main foods
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:49 pm 
Water – one of the body's main foods

By Kishanie S. Fernando

Drinking water is one of the most effective means of ensuring good health. Water maintains and regulates the body's systems and acts as a preventative measure against common disorders and the main illnesses.

Water – one of the body's main foods
Water is one of the body's main foods. Although it has no calories, we need water more than we need any other nutrient. Our bodies use water together with food as fuel to keep them in a good condition.

Water transports trace elements, nutrients and hormones into the cells and intercellular spaces. Water tones up the muscles, keeps the skin supple, regulates the body's temperature, lubricates the joints and keeps the mind alert.

Fats do not contain much water, while it is very concentrated in muscles, blood and skin.

The body has a reserve of nutrients, but it has no reserve of water. The body cannot rehydrate itself and thirst appears as a general warning of dehydration.

Metabolism
Water is the medium which permits the body's various chemical and enzymatic reactions: it carries nutrients, hormones, antibodies and oxygen by means of the blood flow and the lymphatic system.

Digestive system
In order to be useful to the body, most foods and nutrients have to be broken down into simpler substances. This is called digestion.

Solid foods cannot be digested without water. The gastric juices, such as the enzymes in the stomach, transform the food into a homogeneous substance, which can then pass into the intestine. Constipation is often a sign of dehydration. Water also helps the body to eliminate toxins and waste.

Kidneys
The kidneys remove waste, urea and lactic acid from the body. All these substances have to be dissolved in water. When a person is dehydrated, these substances cannot be removed from the kidneys, and this could damage them.

You and thirst
When you feel thirsty, your body is giving the signal that it is feeling dehydrated. We would only be able to survive for a few days without water. It is not necessary to wait until you feel thirsty before you drink water. When you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated to a degree.

Getting into a habit of regularly drinking water at certain times of the day will keep you adequately hydrated. It is a good idea to get into the habit of taking bottles of water with you to the gym, the office, in the car - wherever you may need it.

We should drink just over two litres of water a day - that is between eight and ten glasses. It does depend on body weight, the outdoor temperature and our activity levels.

What about drinking at mealtimes?
Contrary to popular belief, drinking at mealtimes aids our digestive process. Our bodies use water for digestion, to absorb nutrients, for the circulation and for excreting waste. Drinking water at mealtimes is a good way of recouping water losses incurred during the day.

Foods also contain water, but water is still the best option with which to replace lost fluids. It is important that alcoholic drinks and beverages which contain caffeine should be included in the calculation of your daily fluid intake. These drinks can actually dehydrate you.


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