The Importance of Staying Hydrated
Our bodies are made up of around 75 percent water. It is the essential medium for various enzymatic & chemical reactions like moving nutrients, hormones, antibodies and oxygen through the blood stream and lymphatic system. There is no such thing as 'pure' water. Known as 'the universal solvent', natural water contains a variety of salts and minerals. Though their presence does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe to drink, it is the presence of other chemicals that can be detrimental to your health.
Many people are turning off their taps and turning to bottled water for a healthier option. Here's a run down of bottled waters and how they are processed:
Mineral WaterWater that contains no less than 500 parts per million dissolved mineral solids can be classed as mineral water. The dissolved minerals must be present at source. No minerals, inorganic or otherwise may be added to this water. Varying levels of the following minerals may be included: calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluoride, sodium, silica, chlorides, bicarbonates, sulphates and iron.
Distilled WaterDistillation is a process by which water is boiled, evaporated and the vapour condensed. Distilled water is free of dissolved minerals and, because of this, has the special property of being able to actively absorb toxic substances from the body and eliminate them.
Alkaline Ionized WaterWater is run over positive and negative electrons, which ionize the water. It is then separated into alkaline and acidic water and passed through membranes.Some manufacturers and vendors claim that this water is particularly healthful due to its alkalinity. In fact any health benefits are due to the ionization process which improves the water's ability to remove toxins form the body.
Reverse Osmosis WaterWater passes though a semi-permeable membrane due to a difference in pressure. Because some molecules are bigger than others, the water passes through easily while leaving behind 99% of all solids. This method removes lead, copper, arsenic, cadmium, chlorine, giardia, pesticides, salt, trihalomethanes, sulphates, cysts, and nitrates from water as well as most bacteria and viruses.
Sparkling WaterSparkling water has been carbonated to produce the 'fizz'. It can either be naturally carbonated or mechanically carbonated in a process where CO2 is added to normal water.
Spring WaterThis is water that is derived from an underground formation flowing naturally to the surface. It must be collected only at the spring or tapped from the same underground source. Most spring water undergoes filtering or purifying processes before bottling and does not retain mineral solids.
Of course, you need to keep yourself hydrated particularly if you are physically active but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to rely solely on water alone.A quick look at the water content of some other beverages reveals that you're probably already on the way to maintaining an adequately hydrated system before you even turn on the tap. Milk for example is 84 percent water. In fact experts say that even caffeinated drinks hydrate you as much as decaffeinated ones, that's no excuse to drink Coke all day long! Then there's the water content in your daily meals. Watermelon, consists of 85 percent water along many other fruits also have a high water content. In total we obtain 30% of our water intake from food.
According to recent studies, so long as you are not feeling signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, thirst, headache, then you are drinking enough. If you're still not sure you're getting enough, a simple rule of thumb is to check the colour of your urine. If it's pale yellow, you're probably drinking enough fluids, but if it is dark yellow and has a strong odour or if you go to the bathroom less than four times a day, you probably need to increase your water intake. The best thing to do is to pace yourself, if you're doing a hard workout or the atmosphere is humid, keep sipping a little and often. Though eight glasses a day cannot harm you, if it's more than you need you may find yourself spending more time in the bathroom than you do in the gym.