Dr Rubaiul MurshedWater for good health is an idea that goes back centuries. It is an old belief that an average person should drink at least ‘8 glasses of water’ a day.
A lot of people believe that drinking water throughout the day can cure many diseases. But the ‘8 glasses of water’ per day is just a rule of thumb, not an absolute standard.
Some people force themselves to drink water throughout the day and facing some small problems as well.
According to some kidney experts of the Pennsylvania University, drinking increased amount of water throughout the day is not beneficial for health. Moreover, they said (Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, April 2008), “since water is cleared from the gastrointestinal tract very quickly, it is likely that people who try to diet by not changing their food consumption and just drinking water, will be hungry between meals”.
There has yet to be a study that compares two groups of people and weight loss through water consumption.
In general, to remain healthy one need to drink enough water to replace the amount we lose daily through excretion, perspiration and other body functions. But that amount can vary from person to person. Different things are important like surrounding weather, physical condition and one’s activity level.
In fact, total water intake includes water in other beverages, and the water in food. But how do we know whether we are drinking enough water or not? Some experts say, “If you are not thirsty, your fluid intake is probably ok.” That is why marathon runners and bikers all need to recognise the signs of dehydration.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes drink 16 ounces of fluids a couple of hours before starting sports practice. And certainly people in hot or in dry climates have increased need for water. They need to understand the importance of dehydration.
A German physician, Wilhelm Hufeland (1764-1836), who practiced natural medicine and vitalism, was one of the early promoters of ‘8-10 glasses of water’ a day. He and some other practitioners encouraged their followers to drink lots of water for curative properties and to flush out toxins and impurities. He wrote, “fresh spring or mineral water, was the best drink and an excellent means of prolonging life.” He also added, “Many special curative properties were attributed to fresh, cold water – which was a fortifier of the stomach and nerves.”
Drinking 8 glasses water was rarely questioned until Dr. Valtin’s important investigation in 2002. He tries to find any scientific justification for drinking so much water. Dr. Valtin conducted a 10-month review of the scientific literature and historic documents and interviewed many medical experts. He also tried to uncover a definitive science-based origin for the above conventional recommendation.
Than again, it does not mean that we do not need to drink water. Water is important to maintain a healthy body.
Our body is estimated to be about 60 to 70 percent water. Water transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects our joints and organs. Blood is mostly water, and our muscles, lungs and brain also contain a lot of water. Our body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all our organs.
Anyhow, these views about water have certainly helped the plastic bottled water industries. But remember, bottled water available in our local markets is mostly purified waters. They are not mineral waters. And clearly, we need better sources of information about this bottled water as well.
Source: The Daily Star, January 24, 2008