Do you feel drained, drowsy and listless despite having a diet fortified with all the essential nutrients? This is common in summer because of an inadequate intake of water. Most of us are frequently mildly or moderately dehydrated, and this makes it important for us to know how much water should be consumed daily and when is the best time to consume it.
Effects of dehydration
Insufficient water level increases body temperature and slows metabolic activities like digestion, absorption, transport of nutrients and elimination of waste. The symptoms of dehydration are:
* Dry lips, throat and excessive feeling of thirst, dryness on the face.
* Concentrated urine that appears darker than normal, or the inability to urinate.
* Muscle cramps.
* Little or no sweat.
* Weakness, dizziness or feeling faint.
Mild cases of constipation can be cured just by drinking one litre of lukewarm water on waking up and two litres divided through the rest of the day. Water acts as a cleansing agent and flushes out toxins. Consuming 10-12 glasses each day can improve conditions like muscle aches, body pain, heartburn, joint pains, kidney stones, constipation, acne, skin allergies, and indigestion.
Drinking for hydration
* When it’s hot, drink water irrespective of whether you feel thirsty or not.
* Drink at least 2 glasses of water before a physical activity and 1 glass within 10-20 minutes after.
* Have extra water if you are having dry or salty food.
* Eat fresh water-rich fruits and vegetables.
* Keep an electrolyte solution handy to replenish lost salts and water.
* Tea, coffee and sweetened drinks cannot be taken in lieu of water. On the contrary they increase your need for water.
* Increasing water intake does not contribute to water retention.
* You can squeeze fresh lime juice in your water to boost its cleansing action.
On the other hand, too much water can make a weak person feel cold and affect his digestion. This in turn will adversely affect his energy levels. Some individuals have a cold constitution. They suffer from body ache, gas and loose stools and are intolerant to cold weather. Such individuals should not drink too much of water and listen to their body’s needs. They feel energetic with warming foods such as hot soups with a lot of pepper, rice, jowar, bajri and non-vegetarian foods such as eggs, chicken and fish.
A good time
Stop drinking water during or soon after meals. Instead, drink water half-an-hour before and an hour after. Make sure you drink quality water which has been boiled and filtered. Water helps the body remain clean and determines efficient nutrient absorption.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre