The functions within our bodies are numerous and complicated. Out of the many varied processes digestion plays an important role as it is this process that provides the body with the much needed nutrients for its growth and development. Our body needs to digest all food other than water. Water is absorbed straight away into the system whereas all other items of food have to be chewed and processed through the digestive tract. Within the digestive tract food is processed with the aid of digestive juices which are also largely water based. Therefore, we have to be properly hydrated for our systems to function seamlessly in a healthy manner.
Digestion may be compromised in individuals who have systems which are already stressed out such as athletes, pregnant women or sick people. The temporary loss of body water in these individuals can be restored to an acceptable level easily for them to function in a regular manner. Water can be taken indirectly through other beverages or food containing higher levels of water. In the presence of sufficient water the digestive process continues and within the small intestine nutrients will be absorbed into water and carried onto each and every cell. Thus, we can see the connection between being properly hydrated and nourished and appreciate the role played by water in the process. Even when nutrition occurs via diffusion it requires water as a medium.
Blood circulation is the other process that is facilitated by water. It is via blood plasma that nutrients are distributed throughout the body and hydration is vital here as blood is mainly made up of water. The process of circulation helps to build new cells as well as nourish and repair the ones in existence. Circulation also guarantees other benefits such as the creation of energy, production of hormones, requirements for immunity and electrical activity. Thereafter, blood circulation takes care of removing toxins and other waste from each and every cell in the body and transports these to the appropriate places of excretion or recycling plants such as the kidneys, intestine, skin and lungs. This is known collectively as our metabolism and the rate at which it works will reflect how well our bodies are functioning and how healthy we are. Water is the essential component and proper hydration ensures proper functioning of our metabolism.
Symptoms of dehydration
Dehydration can set in without your noticing it. Water is lost from the body through urine and solid waste, by sweating and while breathing. This is more noticeable in very active people and those who are dehydrated due to illnesses such as fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Signs of dehydration are easy to spot and the immediate intake of water or a beverage can balance out the hydration needs with fast results. As we age there may be fewer recognizable symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Persistent thirst
- A dry feeling in the mouth and less saliva than normal
- Extreme feeling of fatigue
- Feeling of being hot and bothered
- Very little urine which is darker in color and having a strong odor
- A dull headache
- A feeling of confusion
- Feeling lightheaded and sleepy
- Lack of tears when crying
Ensuring that you stay hydrated
Hydration is best ensured by monitoring your daily intake of water. A glass of water as you wake up in the morning and one before going to bed at night is a good start. Some will even have a nightcap such as tea, coffee or similar beverage. Fruit juices, sodas and milk are also popular ways of increasing the water levels of the body. Sports drinks and energy drinks are taken by many in stressed situations. However, it should not be the norm as these drinks may contain higher levels of sugar and other additives. Energy drinks are especially not good for teens and children.
Carrying your own bottle of water is the best solution. You can have it in your car, in the office, in your carrying case or even a small bottle in your handbag. This way you will ensure being hydrated with pure water. Of course, one can make simple water more interesting by adding slices of lemon, other fruit or herbs.
Forgetting to drink sufficient water can be a problem when you are busy. To overcome this you can schedule your intake at regular intervals throughout the day. It will also help to drink water before and after meals, even when you go out. Drinking water is also an excellent way to lose weight.