Raise your glass: Things that water can do to your body

  • Soumya Vajpayee Tiwari, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 24, 2015 18:04 IST

From fighting cancer to maintaining a clear complexion, water, that comprises about 75% of our body mass, helps us in innumerable ways. As March 22 was observed as World Water Day, we round up a list of interesting health benefits of water.

For weight loss
The bloated feeling that you experience after drinking too much water is only temporary. Studies suggest that consuming water helps in losing weight, especially when it is hot or warm. "It is advisable to have a full glass of water before meals so that the stomach gets full and there is less food intake," says Dr Anil Ballani, consultant physician, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Khar (W).

Water assists the body in removing the by-products of fat and suppresses appetite, thus limiting food intake. Drinking plenty of water prevents fluid retention and flushes toxins from the body.

To fight cancer
Water can dilute the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and reduce the time they take to come in contact with the bladder lining. Drinking five glasses of water every day decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45% and of breast cancer by 79%. Also, you are 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer if you drink enough water.

For good skin
Water is the cheapest anti-aging formula. It makes our skin shine and keeps it wrinkle-free. It helps remove toxins, maintain a clear complexion and keeps acne and boils at bay. It also moisturises skin, prevents degradation of collagen and delays the process of aging.

For good hair
Apart from what you eat, water also plays a significant role in your hair's health. Washing your hair with cold water makes it glossy as cold temperature makes the strands smoother and more reflective. Another reason why cold water should be preferred is that it prevents dirt from accumulating on the scalp and makes hair stronger. You must also ensure that you wash your hair with soft water as it makes your tresses more manageable because of the presence of low mineral salt. So, if you get hard water supply at home, install a water-softening shower filter. Chlorinated and salty water can make the hair frizzy.

For pain relief and strong muscles
Drink adequate amounts of water to relieve yourself of back pain and headaches. Another benefit of drinking water is that it makes your muscles stronger as it carries oxygen to the cells of your body. Water enables your muscles to work longer. Also, it keeps your joints strong, healthy and lubricated by providing them the moisture they require to remain strong and flexible.

For better immunity
Water plays a vital role in strengthening the immune system. It can help fight flu and other ailments such as kidney stones. Water, along with lemon juice, is helpful in overcoming respiratory diseases, intestinal problems, rheumatism and arthritis.

To regulate body temperature
Excessive sweating is good as it keeps the heat and temperature of the body low. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while working out.

Watch while you drink
Research suggests that drinking too much water can lead to hyponatremia. It can especially affect athletes, elderly people and patients of heart disease. Drinks such as tea, coffee, cola or alcohol should never be considered as substitutes for water.

Small wonders
* Drinking a glass of water before taking a bath helps lower blood pressure.
* A glass of water before going to bed helps avoid a stroke or heart attack.
* Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
* Lack of enough water consumption can also trigger short-term memory loss and difficulty in focusing on the computer screen.
* Drinking two glasses of water after waking up helps activate internal organs.
* A glass of water 30 minutes before a meal helps in proper digestion. Drinking more water can also treat or help prevent constipation.

- With inputs from Dr Apratim Goel, cosmetic dermatologist-laser surgeon, Cutis Skin Studio; Dr Anil Patil, MBBS MD, Chairman- MD, Vedicure Group; Dr Saurabh Jain, consultant physician, Cumballa Hill Hospital and Dr Anil Ballani.

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