Although it contains no nutrients, water is essential to life and for the growth and maintenance of our bodies. Many people are dehydrated without even knowing it; this is typically caused by a variety of factors:
not drinking enough pure water
consuming excessive amounts of caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee and alcohol. Caffeine is a diuretic ie it causes fluid loss from the body
spending long hours in dry environments such as offices, with exposure to central heating, air conditioning and electrical equipment.
Many natural health practitioners believe that dehydration is the root of some degenerative diseases and health complaints, and studies show that dehydration can contribute to many common ailments such as migraines, allergies, asthma, constipation, kidney stones and even arthritis. This should perhaps be unsurprising, given that our bodies are made up of 70% water, which of course needs to be constantly topped up.
Lack of hydration in the body has also been shown to cause backache: major muscles in the body do not perform properly unless the body has sufficient water intake. One of these, the psoas muscle, which runs from the thigh to the lower back, is the muscle that causes stiff hips and lower back pain.
How much is enough?
The best way to tell if you're drinking enough water is from your urine – it should be a light straw colour. The darker your urine, the more water you need to drink.
The recommended amount of pure water (excluding the water contained in soft drinks, tea and coffee) is 8 glasses or 2.5 litres per day. You should drink more if your caffeine intake is high, when exercising and on hot days, or if you've been sweating excessively.
How and when should you drink
Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and another last thing at night ,as the body loses water during sleeping.
If you're out and about, take a couple of small bottles of water with you to ensure you drink enough.
Avoid drinking water with meals as it interferes with digestion. Instead, drink a glass half an hour prior to each meal.
Try not to drink ice-cold water; room temperature is best, as it is kinder to the body. Ice-cold food and drink can interfere with your metabolism.
There is some controversy regarding which type of water to drink: mineral, bottled or filtered tap water. Some argue that even mineral water contains some undesirable chemicals. To be safe, drink a combination of mineral, bottled and filtered water. Invest in a good filter, such as the Aquathin range.