Basics of H2O: Water & you

Drinking water is crucial for the proper functioning of our bodies. Water regulates body temperature, carries nutrients, lubricates joints, flushes out toxins and above all aids in keeping the organs healthy and in good working condition. But hydration is not only about drinking water. If fresh and clean drinkable water is not available, one can look around. Nature has gifted us with an abundance of moisture-laden fruits and vegetables. Consuming juicy fruits and vegetables, like lemons, coconut water, cucumber, watermelon etc., adds to the water content required by the body.

Staying hydrated translates to watering one’s body internally with natural water, the key word being “natural water”. While many understand it as adding water in the form of juices or commercially available fizzy drinks. It is pertinent to understand that sipping such juices or aerated drinks does more harm than getting hydrated. This article outlines a few rules for staying hydrated.

Individual Requirements

Drinking water every single day is important. Though the standard rule says 6-8 glasses of water, it cannot be followed by one and all. Different people need different amounts of water. While an athlete might need more, a child may need far less. In other words, the amount of water an individual needs depends on his/her age, health, physical activity and the climate or environment he/she stays in. Generally, it is recommended that an adult man should have about 3.5 – 4 litres of water and a woman should have 2.5 – 3 litres of water. Active or sportspersons should increase the quantity by another litre or more. Similarly pregnant and lactating mothers should have 3 – 3.5 litres. Hydration can be in the form of freshly squeezed fruit juices or vegetables with loads of water like an ash gourd.

Water stored in copper vessels

Indian traditions and Ayurveda have always been reinforcing the enrichment of minerals in the most natural ways. Storing water in copper or multi ore vessel and consuming them has been highly recommended. The need for copper is minimal but very essential. Copper is necessary to ensure the brain’s chemical messaging system works well. The mineral helps in regenerating connective tissues and maintaining them. Copper-infused water has anti-bacterial properties and aid in building the immune system too. Using copper-insulated water bottles, copper mugs and tumblers can also be beneficial.

Mineral water

As the name suggests, mineral water is enriched with natural minerals like calcium, magnesium and sodium. Mineral water is usually treated to remove impurities and toxic minerals. With calcium enrichment, consuming such enriched water improves bone health. It also lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

Reverse osmosis or filtered water

RO or filtered water removes dissolved impurities and odour. Reverse osmosis improves the taste of the water too. Tap waters mostly contain lead, arsenic, fluoride, mercury and many other harmful minerals which the charcoal filter eliminates. The only disadvantage is this filter But the eliminated water can be recycled in sundry household activities.

Too much water

While water is important to stay fit, excessive intake can be harmful. Too much water can apparently lead to water intoxication. There are various other issues related to drinking water when not thirsty. A few symptoms of overhydrating can be nausea and vomiting. Overhydration affects the kidneys and can trigger diarrhoea. Swelling in the ankles, feet, hands and legs are other symptoms of overhydration. Overhydrating also flushes out essential nutrients, thus making muscles weak. One may also experience cramps. Since too much water causes stress on the kidneys, one may feel fatigued or may experience constant headaches.


If the mouth feels dry and urine is dark in colour, then one is dehydrated. Dehydration can be because of not having enough water. It can also be because of excessive sweating due to hot weather or rigorous activity. UTIs and the formation of stones are other consequences of dehydration. The body has its own ways to signal dehydration.

Most of us talk about good food, good life. But what we conveniently forget is the carrier of the nutrients in the food is water. So water is the most important ingredient that has to go into the body. Drinking water at the right time and the right amount are vital. It is a healthy practice to start the day with a couple of glasses of warm water. A healthy body needs a glass of water an hour before any meal and a glass after an hour of any meal. Drinking a glass of warm water before going to bed at night keeps heart attacks at bay and is also a perfect way to end the day.

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