Drinking Your Way to Wellness
In Japanese culture, it is popular to drink water as soon as one wakes up. In other South-Asian cultures, 8 glasses of warm water on an empty morning stomach is considered a natural way to lose weight. In Islamic tradition, it is believed that Prophet Muhammad described water as the best drink in this world and the next.
According to Dr. Omar Hasnie, a physician at a Chicago area hospital, the human body is made of 55 to 75 percent of water, and every bodily function needs water to work smoothly whether it’s to lubricate our joints, remove waste, or keep our temperature at normal.
Feeling washed out and tired? Drink more water. When dehydrated, your blood is literally thicker and the body has to work harder to circulate it. The brain ends up less active, making it harder to concentrate, leaving you feeling fatigued.
As most of our cells, tissues, organs, and even our skin is made up of water, it is essential we keep our body well hydrated to live a healthy, active life.
Like many mothers, Lisle, IL resident, Zeenat Hussain, mom to 7 year old Zeshan and 5 year old Kiran, is only too familiar with the challenge of getting her kids to drink water. “I send them to school with a bottle of water and it comes back unopened each day,” she laments. “They are so used to juices and other flavored drinks.”
Nawsheen Athar of Dallas, TX knows a trick or two that helps kids get their daily intake. She adds a slice of lemon to their bottles of water and has the kids compete to finish the water and be the first to leave the slice of lemon at the bottom of the bottle.
When they are out playing sports, she makes sure to carry the largest water bottle she can find because Zeshan and Kiran are apt to gulp it down readily and in large volumes. When the family eats meals together, whether at home or outside, they’ve made it a point to stick with water. No sodas, not even milk. That saves them money and calories, and adds to their health.
Laila Ansari, of Toronto, Canada mom to Inara, 8 and Zohaib, 12, uses an entirely different approach. “Just as I talk to my children about the dangers of doing drugs or alcohol, I appeal to their intellect when explaining why water is important,” she says. “My sister had kidney stones at one point and that was really painful, so they know that there are consequences to not drinking water. We made that situation into a learning moment.”
But it’s not just kids who need water. Tips for adults:
You lose water from your body all the time and therefore must replenish it. Some obvious body water loss occurs every time you use the bathroom or sweat. But you also lose water when you simply breathe. Water loss is faster when the weather is hot or when you exercise. Rapid body water loss also happens when you suffer from fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. The loss of body water is called dehydration.
Dehydration can cause you to experience nausea, cramps, headaches and lightheadedness in varying degrees. Your mouth can dry up and you may experience heart palpitations. This is because your body is trying to maintain the same level of blood flow while your fluid volume is down. The body copes by increasing your heart rate, and constricting your blood vessels. In the long term, this adjustment starts to fail. As your brain and vital body organs receive less blood, the body gives way to weakness. At this stage, it’s physically difficult to go around your normal routine, and you can start to feel confused. In the final stage of severe dehydration, your body falls victim to organ failure and coma.
The human body requires 6 to 9 8-ounce glasses of drinking water everyday. For those who are ill, exercise, or live in hotter climates, the intake quantity increases. One thing is for sure, it is not enough to sense thirst to determine your fluid intake. Don’t weight and height matter? Some dieticians recommend a third of our weight (in pounds) as the right amount of water to consume.
If drinking several liters of water seems challenging, there are other types of ways you can increase your water intake. Juices from vegetables and fruits, milk and smoothies can also provide water. Some good sources of water in fruits and vegetables are cantalopes, watermelons, oranges, grapefruits, lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, and tomatoes. Yogurt is also great for water intake and provides a healthy dose of calcium.
Beverages like coffee, caffeinated tea and soda, however, are caffeinated and act as diuretics, causing frequent urination and loss of water.
Good hydration is essential for a normal functioning body and that isn’t the only benefit. Other great reasons include:
Water is a lubricant for our joints and digestive tract. Drinking water also keeps the body feeling full. Often the sensation of thirst is confused for hunger, which is why water is a great way to reduce excess eating. It’s amazing to realize that lack of water interferes with our concentration levels and our short-term memories.
Sports drinks are a great source of hydration when exercising at high intensity. They provide carbohydrates and electrolytes to pump up your blood sugar. If you ever face illness that involves vomiting and diarrhea, sports drinks are a fast way to normalize your blood’s sugar level. Sports drinks, however, are not substitutes for long-term hydration needs.
The downside of sports drinks is that they are high in sugar, calories, sodium and sometimes contain caffeine. If use sports drinks in your daily routine, pick one that is lower in sugar and calories per serving size. One bottle may not necessarily be one serving size. It may, in fact, comprise several serving sizes. Finally, if your sports drink has caffeine, cut down your other sources of caffeine, like tea and coffee.
To bottle or package water, there is always some degree of processing involved. This always creates the possibility for potential cross contamination with non-halal sources. Even if there is no contamination during the process, there is always a chance that packaging materials have non-halal ingredients. Sometimes, plastic boxes and bottles can be laced with a wax that is created from a non-halal source.
Your best bet is to try to look for halal certified symbols from third party halal certification organizations. IFANCA uses the symbol Crescent ‘M’ to convey that the bottling process and packaging materials of a water bottle were thoroughly checked for halal status.