BY FRANCIS EMUKULE
“Our bodies contain 60 percent of water and 80 percent of our muscle contains water meaning we are almost entirely water;” says Ivan Mwase a nutritionist at Uganda Christian University.
He also recommends that at least in a day, a normal person should take 3 to 4 glasses of water which is about a litre of water every day.
Now this is not rocket science in which you have to invest a lot of time and money. This is a very simple thing to do for our health but people have taken it for granted. So in this article we want to find out if you take enough water and if not what are the implications of not taking enough water.
Recommendations for water intake, according to Mwase, vary depending on the place where you are, the kind of work we do and the state of our health.
”If you are physically active, you need more water because you need to replenish the body. If you are sick, your metabolic rate is going to be high because the body’s immune system is fighting off the illness and therefore you will need more water in the body. If you are in a very hot place, you have to take enough water,” Mwase explains.
You must be wondering ‘Why water?’ And yet even soda, juice also contain a certain degree of fluids. Yes these contain fluids but water is the most recommended type of fluid since our bodies constitute a large amount of it and helps the body find a soluble balance. “When you are in Karamoja or Gulu, you need more water because the body is going to sweat and regulation of the body temperature is important in this case,” Mwase says.
How do you know you are dehydrated?
Change in the colour of the urine. All good kidney functions run on water. Therefore any less consumption of water causes stress in the kidney and as such there is going to be less excretion.
”If you take in less water, the kidney is going to have a hard time diluting content of the body solutes and as a result you will excrete little, and pass out concentrated urine,” Mwase says.
But when the water intake is enough, the urine colour will not be concentrated: it will be a little yellow in colour or pale yellow.
Paleness and dryness of the skin
Because the skin excretes sweat, when you do a lot of physical work, if you do not take enough water you are going to have your skin pores blocked and as result the skin will react by developing pimples because there isn’t enough water to help in the opening of the pores which can also be called cleaning of the skin pores to help them breath.
Because hydration helps in brain function like memory ability, Mwase says that studies have shown that with proper water intake there is good memory ability achieved compared to when you don’t take enough water.
He says that people with less water intake suffer with the ability to recall and also sometimes suffer convulsions.
These headaches may sometimes turn into migraines.
Why you need water
It is going to help you ease your digestion process. “In the stomach there is much churning of the food consumed which is broken down into finer portions for easy digestion. As result you will not experience constipation or result in a complication called diverticulum where by the walls of the gastro-intestinal tract are perforated by the waste products of the digestive system,” Mwase says.
Water also emphasizes physical exercise especially for people who go working out in the gym or athletes.
Water also will help in the proper functioning of the kidney, that is, the ability to excrete what is necessary and retain what is needed.
So if you do not take enough water you will be formation of a crystallization of all solutes which will eventually result into a health complication called kidney stones.
Water helps in weight loss because it contains zero calories. When water is consumed it creates satisfaction which means that if you later you go and eat, you will take in less calories.
For those who consume alcohol, you should note that the more alcohol you consume, the more water you are going to release which means that you will get easily dehydrated. So it is advisable that you take water in between drinks because water has the ability to neutralize the alcohol and as well get rid of the hungover effect but most importantly also hydrate the body.
Ways to hydrate
If totally hydrated water alone is not enough it advisable you combine the water with salt and sugar.
Eat fruits rich in water like watermelons, pineapples, oranges and pawpaws.
Eat a lot of green vegetables.