To drink or not to drink? Debunking myths about water

 Does a person need water?

In terms of importance for humans, water is in second place after oxygen. It is a key link in the work of all internal processes and systems of the body: it takes an active part in the digestion of food, is responsible for thermoregulation, the health of internal organs and their normal functioning, skin condition, and well-being. Among other things, water works as an antidepressant: if you have a busy day or there is an emergency at work, taking a bath or a contrast shower will successfully bring you to your senses, energize and relieve discomfort. 

If from the point of view of the influence of water on the body, everything is more or less clear, then its magical aspects remain practically unknown. True, this does not prevent water from continuing to heal people when medicine is powerless, to relieve pain, to realize cherished desires by programming it. The phenomenon of “holy water” and Epiphany bathing in the hole in general are difficult to explain scientifically.

 Sooner or later, any person who cares about their health begins to read about water: how to drink it correctly, when, how much, how to choose. The following danger may lie in wait here: it is very easy to become a victim of delusions, and receive incorrect instructions for action. To prevent this from happening, we will begin our voyage from the most “bearded” myth.

 “A person should drink at least 2,5 liters of pure water per day” – a myth with respectable age, which steps from book to book, comes from the lips of experts in a healthy lifestyle. For its successful implementation, some manufacturers even produce decanters with the coveted “2,5 liters” mark or a set of 8 glasses that need to be filled every morning with water, placed throughout the apartment and, like it or not, drink during the day. As a reward for the work done, they say that eternal youth and good health are ensured. At the same time, many of those who daily forcibly drink more than 2 liters of water a day complain that it simply “does not fit” and they have to pour it into themselves by force. 

 And who even said about how much you need to drink? It is difficult to get an unambiguous answer, but the United States is still considered the birthplace of the “bearded myth”. Back in 1945, the National Research Council of the United States in its dogma put forward the following: “An adult should consume 1 ml of water for every calorie of food”, which in total gave up to 2,5 liters of water per day for men and up to 2 liters for women. From that day on, the solemn march of the “health formula” through cities and countries began, and many authors even built their own unique healing methods, taking this simple principle as a basis. 

 In order to understand the veracity of this theory, it is enough to get as close as possible to the world of Nature, whose descendants are animals, plants and people. In many ways, the misfortune of mankind lies in the fact that, living in the conditions of the 21st century, in an attempt to take care of health, we forget about the laws of Nature. Watch animals: they only drink water when they feel thirsty. They do not know about the concepts of “daily allowance” or “2,5 liters of water per day.” The same can be said about the plant world: if you fill a flower pot with water daily and abundantly, then you will rather kill it than benefit it, because the plant will absorb exactly the amount of water that it needs, and the rest will destroy it. Therefore, the answer to the question “to drink or not to drink?” your body will tell you whether or not you feel thirsty.

    In this matter, some nutritionists advise to be proactive: drink water BEFORE you get thirsty. This is motivated by the fact that you can wait for serious dehydration. Let us return again to Nature, which took care of man and his survival, and try to analyze. The feeling of thirst appears with a loss of 0 to 2% of the total volume of body water, and at 2% you want to drink a lot! So much so that we run for a glass of water immediately. Symptoms of dehydration (weakness, fatigue, apathy, loss of appetite, difficulty in performing physical activity) appear with a loss of 4% or more of body water. In this case, a person is ready to pounce on any reservoir of liquid. You simply cannot miss this moment and consciously bring the body to a critical state. 

 The moral is this: nature has taken care of everything. She knows best what your body needs for its own well-being. She talks to you with instincts, reflexes and sends to the brain everything that the body needs at the moment. This applies not only to drinking, but also to eating, choosing products. Attempts to go against nature do not lead to anything good. The task of each person is to listen to himself and simply satisfy those needs.

  When the model of rational water consumption in the United States was proposed, it would be logical to explain that the lion’s share of 2,5 liters is the liquid that a person receives with food and other drinks (about one and a half liters). By simple mathematical calculations, it turns out that there is no need to forcefully pour 8 glasses into oneself. Moreover, excessive fluid intake can lead to a negative reaction – a large load on the urinary and cardiovascular systems. Water poisoning is quite possible, only few people talk about it.

 There is no scientific evidence to suggest that drinking plenty of fluids (beyond thirst) increases lifespan or alters its quality. For 10 years, a study was conducted in the Netherlands, in which 120 people took part. The results have been published in :  the authors found no association between fluid intake and causes of mortality. In other words, people who drank a lot of water and a little, died from the same diseases. 

 However, I would like to clarify: all of the above concerned healthy people with moderate physical activity and living in countries with a temperate climate. Nursing mothers, pregnant women, children, athletes, people at any stage of the disease constitute a special category, where drinking issues really stand apart – but that’s another story.

 Where better to think about how to quench your thirst, because this is the success of optimal maintenance of water balance. A key mistake many of us make is that when we feel thirsty, we go to the kitchen to make tea or treat ourselves to a cup of coffee. Alas, such drinks, as well as juices or smoothies, will not cope well with rehydration. Due to the presence of sugar, they will further aggravate the situation, leading to a loss of water in the cells of the oral mucosa (“dry” it), provoke a feeling of thirst even more. It is best to use ordinary clean water, paying attention to its quality.

 The best for the body in all respects is water from a source that is located far from large cities. It is “alive”, useful, has a taste (yes, water has a taste), its composition does not need to be improved. But residents of megacities, where spring water is considered a luxury, have to look for alternative options.

 The most accessible is tap water. In order to rid it of bacteria and make it more drinkable, the older generation boiled it. Yes, indeed, some microbes will die, but calcium salts will remain. Evidence of this is a raid on electric kettles. In addition, such water has no taste, it is unpleasant to drink it, and after boiling, a film forms on the surface. Such water will obviously not add health. It is believed that even for domestic needs, it is not suitable. A compromise option would be to install filters at home or buy bottled water. Some companies promise that it is in their bottles that water from sources is contained, which means that it is the most suitable for drinking. All sorts of advertising slogans you may have to take a word.

 A few words about habits.  Previously, it was customary to feed hearty, thoroughly, so that when getting up from the table, there were no hints of hunger. “First, second, third and compote” – this is the program of a standard dinner in the USSR. Compote is exactly the same link that filled the remaining space in the stomach and left no chance to hint about itself to hunger. The conditions and specifics of work in the Soviet years often did not allow for fractional meals, and many simply had no idea about it. Time has passed, but habits remain. Many people still finish their meal with a glass of juice, water or a cup of tea. In terms of proper nutrition, this is not the best option. It is advisable to drink food at least 30 minutes after eating it, and ideally – after one and a half to two hours. Otherwise, gastric juices will liquefy and their bactericidal properties will be lost (which leads to indigestion in general), the walls of the stomach will stretch. It should be noted that when eating a large amount of fruits and vegetables, the desire to drink is usually absent. But if after a couple of dry toasts the body tells you about thirst, maybe it makes sense to reconsider the diet and add bright vegetable colors to it?

 Finally, about the good. More precisely, about good habits:

 – if the body is set positively, then starting the day with a glass of clean water is very useful, and if you add a few drops of lemon juice to it, then it’s also delicious;

– when leaving the house, take a bottle of water with you, especially in the hot season or if you have a child with you (usually children drink more and more often). Give preference to glass bottles: glass is a more environmentally friendly and safer material than plastic;

– during illness or when you feel unwell, it is better to drink water more often and in small portions than rarely, but in large ones. The temperature of the water should be as close as possible to body temperature: in this case, the liquid will be quickly absorbed, the body will not waste energy on warming or cooling it;

– remember that juices, tea, coffee, compote are rather drinks for pleasure, while water is a vital necessity. Give preference to her when you feel thirsty.

We wish you to stay afloat in the turbulent flow of information and not succumb to delusions. 


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