“Water is the lifeline for
Everything that has life
Ceases the life when
Water becomes extinct” -Life line by Somanathan Iyer.
How true! Water is the basic need for cellular health. About 60% of each living human cell is water. Water exists both inside and outside cells, maintaining a fine electrolyte balance. This balance is essential for basic cellular functions, which generate energy and keep us going. At the macro level, water is required for carrying nutrients to various parts of the body, keeping our joints supple, and skin looking youthful.
Water can leave the body by means of sweat, urine, evaporation while breathing, etc. Dehydration happens when the amount of water intake is less than the amount of water leaving the body. Under such conditions, the electrolyte balance is disturbed, and the cells become less permeable. The mechanism of energy generation becomes impaired, and general weakness ensues. A study by Nash and Meiselman found that the red blood cells lose their elasticity upon dehydration.
Generally, we respond to the cues given by our bodies and replenish water loss intermittently. In the warmer months, it is easy to recognize the need for water owing to sweating and feeling thirsty. However, one can dehydrate just as easily in the winter, and the signs of dehydration are more likely to go unnoticed. The symptoms could range from dark colored urine and dry mouth to dizziness, fatigue, etc. In order to avoid dehydration in cooler months, one should:
- Keep drinking water EVEN IF NOT THIRSTY
- Eat fresh produce like oranges, apples, salads, etc., which have a high water content
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of caffeine-containing sodas and other drinks, or alcoholic beverages, as they tend to flush out the water from our bodies
- Drink a tall glass of water as soon as any sign of dehydration becomes evident.
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one”- Jacques Cousteau.
Again, how true! Let us not forget that fitting a simple act of drinking water in our busy schedules could keep us hydrated and healthy, irrespective of the weather.
Written by: Mangala Sarkar Ph.D.
Nash, G. B., & Meiselman, H. J. (1990). Effect of dehydration on the viscoelastic behavior of red cells. Blood Cells, 17(3), 517-22.