Water is a basic and most important nutrient for all living organisms and is critical to life. The human body contains 70% of water. Losing even an insignificant percentage of water results in severe dehydration which can be fatal.
Water supports the digestion of food, absorption, transportation and use of nutrients and the elimination of toxic waste from the body. Water inside us is the ocean which is needed to keep us alive. We can live without food much longer than we can without water.
An average human body contains about 70% of water by body weight. A newborn’s body is about 75%, while some elderly and/ or obese people may have as little as 45% of water. The water content in the body is determined by gender, age, fitness and general health. For example, a male body would normally contain less water than the body of a female. Older people lose water from tissues as they age, so they would have less water in their body than a younger person.
We have discussed various substances which help to detoxify the body. However, without sufficient water intake detoxification will never happen. Moreover, toxins will start accumulating in the body, since water will be used for the most important functions – such as transporting blood and maintaining cellular activity. A dehydrated body tries to save water, so produces little urine.
How much water should we drink per day?
It is recommended that an average adult should drink 2 litres of water a day. There is a debate on whether it should include the fluids we take in with other drinks and foods. Some say that it should. Others say that 2 litres should be just water, and other fluids should not count towards the total. I suggest that you gradually educated your body into accepting the 2 litres.
Drinking water is a habit, and that habit needs to be developed over time. If you have been drinking very little all the time, and have suddenly increased the intake of water, you may not feel like you should be doing it. It may feel forced. So increase your water intake by 1 glass every 3-4 days, until your intake reaches 2 litres.
However, drinking too much water can also be damaging to health, interfering with the body electrolytes and blood circulation. Drinking too much water takes important salts out of the body leading to thickening of the blood, a drop in blood pressure, muscle weakness, cramps, low energy and fatigue. So a balance is important.
The best way to check if you are drinking enough water is to see the colour of your urine. If it is light yellow, you are drinking enough. If it is darker colours of yellow to orange – you are drinking too little, and if the urine is almost colourless, you are overdoing it and need to drink less.
Possible causes of dehydration
- Insufficient intake of water
- Sweating due to intense heat (e.g.hot weather or a sauna)
- High body temperature
- Dehydration due to taking certain medications
- Alcohol intake
- Prolonged intense exercise (e.g. Marathon runs)
- Drug use (e.g. Ecstasy pills cause severe dehydration)
Symptoms and possible consequences of dehydration
- Feeling thirsty
- Dry lips & mouth
- Sticky saliva
- Dark coloured urine
- Mental confusion
- Sunken eyes
- Spots, blemishes
- Weight gain
- Impurities on the skin
- Dehydration of the skin shows as wrinkles and hollows
- Loss of energy
- Urinary infections
- Low blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- General toxicity
- Kidney failure
- Loss of consciousness
- Can be fatal.
Dangers of dehydration
The early signs of dehydration are shown as a feeling of thirst and having to use a lot of effort to move the bowel. This is when dehydration is 0.5 – 2%. If it is more severe, there is a drop in blood pressure, weakness, confusion, nausea, inability to concentrate and perform mental tasks effectively. Serious signs show a loss of consciousness and kidney failure. Dehydration of 10% can be fatal.
Benefits of drinking water
- Feeling energetic
- Better health
- Regular and easy bowel movements
- Efficient elimination of toxins
- Healthy urinary system
- Healthy looking skin
- Efficient bowel movement and elimination
- Sharp mental focus
- Improved ability to manage weight.
I suggest investing in a good water filtration jug. Drinking water from plastic bottles is not the best thing to do since toxins from plastic leach into the water and wreak havoc with our hormones.
The best way to address dehydration is to add some Himalayan salt to a drink. Unlike table salt, Himalayan salt is a very clean type of salt, while being very rich in minerals. Table salt is refined from sea salt and contains just sodium chloride. Himalayan salt comes to us unrefined, so contains the minerals we need. Since it is extracted from salt caves (not open seas, like sea salt), it is very clean, uncontaminated by modern pollutants.
I have a friend who adds 1 teaspoon of this wonderful salt to a glass of water and drinks it every morning. She says that it really boosts her energy levels, making her feel alive and sharp. I must say that not everyone should use Himalayan or other salt without consulting their medical doctor. For example, people who are on a blood pressure medication, pregnant women and people suffering from kidney problems should always ask for doctor’s advice before adding more salt to their diet. If in doubt, always ask!
If you do go for Himalayan salt, start by adding 1/4 of a teaspoon to a glass of water, and gradually increasing it to 1 teaspoon. Observe how your body responds to it and adjust accordingly.