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 Water & Hydration

May 2010
Hydration and Your Health
Dr Sreedevi Yadavalli
The human body developed from the species that first took birth in water. Perhaps this is why we have inherited the same dependence on the life-giving properties of water.
The fact that water is essential to life is irrefutable. But in his book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, Dr Fareydoon Batmanhelidj holds that water is essential for wellness too. The book focuses on the belief that many degenerative diseases could be prevented and sometimes cured if we drank more water daily.

According to Dr Batmanhelidj, “The body poses many different thirst signals. A dry mouth is not a reliable indicator of your body’s water needs.” He describes more reliable indicators of thirst and claims that you can prevent, treat, and cure health related illnesses through water!

But then again, at variance with Dr Batmanhelidj’s other contention in the book that tea, coffee, and sodas are not good substitutes for water, is a 2004 report from the National Academy of Science (NAS), which acknowledged the importance of water in staying hydrated, and found that all beverages and foods contribute to hydration.

The study said men are adequately hydrated by consuming 100 ounces of fluids per day, including drinking water and other beverages, and women at a level of just more than 72 ounces. It also said that temporary underconsumption of water can occur due to heat exposure, high levels of physical activity, or decreased food and fluid intake. However, on a daily basis, fluid intake driven by thirst, and the habitual consumption of beverages at meals, is supposedly sufficient for the average person to maintain adequate hydration. Now, for those who regularly enjoy their few daily cups of coffee, tea or soft drinks, you may be relieved to learn that there are studies that conclude that caffeinated beverages can contribute to your daily water needs, though this is at total variance with the popular belief is that caffeinated beverages don’t count towards water needs, and are actually dehydrating.

Such studies will no doubt be of immense help to cola manufacturers too. The fact is that though the diuretic effects of caffeine are well known, research has failed to conclusively support the common notion that ordinary consumption of caffeinated beverages contributes significantly to dehydration.

The key, therefore, to getting this right, as with most things in life: consume beverages in moderation.

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