Dr Phatho Zondi
MBChB, MSc Sports Medicine, MBA
Sports Science Institute of South Africa
South Africans are spoilt by delightful weather, sunny skies and luscious nature that lures one to find ways to enjoy it. In all of this excitement, we often find ourselves indulging in these delights, but forgetting the basics that sustain us and keep us revitalized. Good hydration is an important component of physiological functions that contribute to good health.
5 Reasons to drink water
- Water is the key ingredient for all of the body’s physiological processes. 60% of one’s body weight is made up of water. Most importantly, the body needs adequate fluid to maintain blood pressure so that it can circulate oxygen, nutrients and regulatory hormones.
- Water is a natural detoxing agent. Most of the body’s harmful toxins are excreted via the kidneys or livers. The majority of these toxins are water soluble and bind to water so that they can be transported to the kidneys or liver where they are broken down and excreted in the urine or stool. Dehydration indirectly increases the concentration of the unbound potentially harmful toxins in the blood, and slows absorption and excretion of these substances leaving one feeling sluggish.
- Reduce caloric intake. Scientists claim that water is a natural appetite suppressant and also speeds up metabolism. Water itself does not contain any wonder ingredients, however, adequate fluid levels allow efficient transportation of hormones including those important for digestion and metabolism. Also using water as a substitute for high calorie beverages will reduce your overall caloric intake.
- Healthy skin. The skin is composed of multiple layers of cells. These cells need a fluid medium for enzymatic & metabolic processes. Water also serves as a natural moisturizer to the skin and conversely, if well maintained and in tact, the skin itself acts a protective layer to prevent fluid loss.
- Muscle health. Again, it boils down to cellular mechanisms. Fluid and electrolyte deficiencies cause muscle fatigue and muscle breakdown. Dehydration will adversely affect muscle performance and recovery.
Convinced? Now here’s how to do it:
- Start every morning with a glass of water
- Eat plenty fruit and vegetables as these naturally have a high water content
- Have a glass of water with every meal
- Make your beverage tasteful by adding lemon, fruit or mint leaves
- Keep a bottle of water by your desk and sip on it throughout the day