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Water is Essential to Life

Water is Essential to Life

About 60% of the human body is made of water. It plays an essential role in keeping all our body systems working well. Staying well hydrated can help reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, urinary tract infections and constipation.

We all lose water throughout the day with normal body processes, such as making urine, bowel movements and sweating. Very active individuals can lose more water through sweat, as the body tries to cool itself down. The same is true at higher altitudes and in extreme temperatures. Health conditions like fevers and diarrhoea also result in additional water loss.

A drink of water after meditation has several benefits – it is refreshing and cleansing and it rehydrates your body; sipping water helps you gradually return to the physical world and if you concentrate on the sensation of tasting and swallowing the water you are practising mindfulness.

What is Dehydration?

If you lose more water than you take in, your body can become dehydrated. Dehydration can wreak havoc on your body, causing headaches, dizziness or digestion problems. Mild dehydration may impact your mood, memory or how well you’re able to process information. These symptoms often go away once your body gets rehydrated.

It is important to drink sufficient water each day to help the body maintain the correct electrolyte balance.  Electrolyte levels change in relation to water levels in the body.  The kidneys, along with hormones, regulate the concentration of each electrolyte and filter high levels from the body.  Hormones act to restore a balance.

What is an Electrolyte?

An electrolyte is a substance that conducts electricity when dissolved in water. Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are essential for many functions in the body.  They regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue.  Electrolytes interact with each other and the cells in the tissues, nerves, and muscles. A balance of different electrolytes is crucial for the body to function.

How much water do we need each day?

Many factors affect how much water we need including age, sex, activity level and overall health – for instance, women need more water during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  We generally get around 20% of the fluids we need from food (particularly fruit) and most of us drink beverages like tea and coffee as well.  Bearing this in mind, the general rule is that 2 litres of water (8 cups) drunk over the course of a day is usually sufficient.  A quick way to check is the colour of your urine – it should be pale yellow – if it’s darker – drink more water.

What is the best water to drink?

Both mineral and spring water come from an underground naturally occurring source and must be tested regularly and certified as safe drinking water. The water must be bottled at the source, free of contaminants, and not chemically treated.

Mineral water often contains more naturally occurring minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, fluoride, iron, and zinc.  It should contain a consistent amount of minerals and these must be stated on the label.

Whilst spring water may contain as many minerals, it might have more or less and there’s no legal obligation to tell us what spring water constitutes.

Tap water is extracted from natural sources and there are no studies to show that it is less healthy than bottled water.  What is certain is that it is the most sustainable.  Although tap water goes through several processes including filtration, carbon treatment, UV disinfection and chlorination, it requires no packaging, no recycling and there are no transport costs.

You can drink water direct from a natural underground spring if it has been tested and approved as safe to drink.  Holy wells and sacred springs are often attributed with healing powers, the waters are said to have healing properties and many legends are associated with them.  As the water from natural springs often has a high mineral content, there could actually be some truth in this.

For example, the water from the Chalice Well at Glastonbury has a very high iron content as the underground source flows through rocks containing iron oxide.  The iron content would be beneficial for anyone suffering from anaemia – but the iron levels are quite high so the recommendation is to only drink a few drops at a time.

#Water #electrolytes #hydration #minerals

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