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Water for Life

Few days ago I was reading an article on how we in Pakistan are at the brink of real water shortage crisis. The main reason is that we do not have enough dams to hold water and since we do not have reservoirs, millions of cusecs of water flows and drains out to the sea. This is creating a serious concern that we may be heading towards perilous water shortage in few years to come and could be hit by drought (God forbid).

According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan ranks third in the world among countries facing acute water shortage. Reports by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) also warn the authorities that the South Asian country will reach absolute water scarcity by 2025. “No person in Pakistan, whether from the north with its more than 5,000 glaciers, or from the south with its ‘hyper deserts,’ will be immune to this scarcity,” said Neil Buhne, UN humanitarian coordinator for Pakistan.

The point that I wish to discuss and share today is the importance of water for our health.

This element, better known as WATER, is the most essential, next to air, for our survival. Water is critical for our very existence.

Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body, and without it, humans would not survive beyond few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water; blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration like fuzzy short-term memory, difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen and disorientation. Anybody having such problems, should just ‘Drink up’

Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. Water is important to the mechanics of the human body. The body cannot work without it, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil. In fact, all the cell and organ functions made up in our entire anatomy and physiology depend on water for their functioning.

  • Water serves as a lubricant.
  • Water forms the base for saliva.
  • Water forms the fluids that surround the joints.
  • Water helps to alleviate constipation by moving food through the intestinal tract and thereby eliminating waste- the best detox agent.
  • Water is a vital element for many metabolic processes and can only run if it is constantly available.
  • Our blood needs water to bring nutrients, minerals and oxygen to the trillions of cells in our body.
  • Water helps to rid our bodies of toxic substances.
  • Our body temperature needs to be maintained around 37°C/98.6°F and can be correctly regulated with water.

Water plays a key role in the prevention of disease. Drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. These are just a few examples. There are number of ways how water can aid in the prevention and cure of many types of diseases, ailments and disorders that affect the many systems of our bodies.

Water Protects our Tissues, Spinal Cord, and Joints

Water does more than just quench our thirst and regulate our body’s temperature; it also keeps the tissues in the body moist. You know how it feels when our eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry. Keeping the body hydrated helps in retaining optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and the brain. In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for our joints.

Water Helps our Body Remove Waste

Adequate water intake enables the body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. The kidneys and liver use it to help flush out waste, as do our intestines. Water can also keep us from getting constipated by softening stools and helping move the food we have eaten through intestinal tract.

Water Aids in Digestion

Digestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help us digest soluble fiber. With the help of water, this fiber dissolves easily and benefits bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.

Water Prevents Us from Becoming Dehydrated

Our body loses fluids when we are engaged in vigorous exercises, sweat in high heat, or come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. If losing fluids for any of these reasons, it’s important to increase fluid intake so that body’s natural hydration levels are restored. The doctors recommend that drinking more fluids help to treat pathological conditions, like bladder infections and urinary tract stones. During pregnancy or nursing, mother should consult her physician about fluid intake because the body uses more fluids than usual, especially during breastfeeding.

How Much Water Do We Need

According to a report on nutrient recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, there’s no hard and fast rule, and many individuals meet their daily hydration needs by simply drinking water when they are thirsty.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in fact, most people who are in good physical health get enough fluids by drinking water and other beverages when they are thirsty, and also by drinking a beverage with each of their meals.

If you are not sure about your hydration level, look at your urine. If it’s clear, you are in good shape. If it is dark, you are probably dehydrated.

However, another set of scientists believe that the total hydration need of an average adults is 2.6 liters per day, of which approximately, 900ml will be consumed by meals and around 300ml will be made available inside our body with our metabolic water.

This refers to water created in living organisms by oxidizing energy-containing substances. To ensure proper hydration, it is recommended to consume approximately 1.5 liters of water per day. To reach optimal hydration, those 1.5 liters should be split into 6-8 smaller portions spread over the whole day. Athletes or people doing physical labor need more.

I picked up the pen on this topic because there is a general unawareness about the importance of water intake and keeping oneself properly hydrated. Recently while talking to a Urologist it was revealed that in Pakistan in recent years there is a fearful increase in the cases of UTIs and Renal Failures, and besides other factors, one of the major reasons is less intake of water and resultant dehydration.

So friends let’s keep ourselves properly hydrated and give this message to our families and to whoever we can possibly reach. ‘Drink Up and Enjoy Life’

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