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The secret to good health
Shilpa Shet
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February 19, 2007

Next to oxygen, water is the most important ingredient for life on earth. A man could go without food for several days, but without water, he would not even last a week.

About 70 per cent of the fat free mass of the human body is made of water and to function properly, it requires between one and seven litres of water per day.

What most people are unaware of, is that an avergae adult loses about 12 cups of water daily through breathing, sweating and trips to the bathroom.

So, it is very important to replace all this loss to avoid dehydration or heat stroke.

Why water is important

~ Water is critical to the metabolism and helps to transport, combine and chemically break down various important nutrients required for the body.

~ Water keeps your muscles and joints toned, body supple, and organs functioning efficiently.

How much is enough?

It is not clear how much water intake is needed by healthy people, though most experts agree that 8 to 10 glasses of water (approximately two litres) daily is the minimum to maintain proper hydration.

Zarine Mistry, a school teacher, swears by water as the reason behind her good health. She drinks three to four litres of water daily.

This 30-year old starts her day by drinking four glasses of lukewarm water in the morning. And she has been doing this for the last 10 years. Throughout the day she has about three to four litres of water.

"I read somewhere that drinking lots water is very critical and now it has become habit for me," she says.

She not only has an amasing complexion but also stays active for the rest of the day.

Forget to drink water?

Most people don't keep track of when they drink their water. In fact, some people even forget to drink water and do so only when the thirst becomes too much to ignore.

19-year-old Rajesh Gupta says, "How does one remember to drink water? I remember to have food because I feel hungry. But I have no such urges for water. There are days when I have survived on one glass of water during the entire day."

So, while we all agree that drinking water is important, how does one include it in one's routine?

We take a look at some of the tried and tested methods:

~ As soon as you wake up, drink at least three glasses of water. Wait for 40-60 minutes. Then repeat.

~ Always keep a bottle of water next to you at work. The minute your bottle is empty, take this opportunity for a break. Get up, walk up to the other end of the office to the water purifier or pantry and fill your bottle. That way you get your exercise and stay stocked up on water too.

~ Keep reminders on your phone or PC.

~ Get a fancy-looking water bottle.

~ Carry a packet of Vitamin C or Electral, dilute with water and sip. This way you stay hydrated while also getting all the nutrients.

~ Concentrates of amla or lemon juice also help. Take two tablespoons of the concentrate and mix it with a glass of water.

~Time your intake of water so that you do not have to hurry to the washroom while travelling.

~ At home, fill up three bottles of water in the morning and keep them in different rooms where are you are likely to notice them. Drink from these bottles whenever you walk in the rooms.

Substitute for tea, coffee 'n' colas

Water can actually help you get over your tea and coffee addiction. Substitute your tea or coffee cup with a cup of hot water with may be a dash of lime, mint or tulsi.

Also, opt for chilled water instead of colas or sodas. You can also try fruit punches or cocktails.

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