Our bodies need an absolute minimum of six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Alcohol, tea, coffee and caffeine-containing beverages don’t count as water. The best times to drink water are: one glass half an hour before taking food, at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a similar amount two and a half hours after every meal. This is the very minimum amount your body needs. Ideally, two more glasses of water should be taken around the heaviest meal or before going to bed. Thirst should be satisfi ed at all times. You will fi nd the more water you drink, the more effi cient your body’s thirst mechanism becomes with the result that you will want to drink more water.

The brain

OUR bodies consist of 75% water and 25% solid mass but the brain tissue consists of around 85% water. The brain reacts to dehydration by secreting increased levels of histamine, which then prompts the body’s water regulatory system to start up. This can result in a number of different reactions in the body, from allergies and asthma to stomach ulcers, headaches, rheumatoid arthritis and anginal pains. All could be caused by the effects of dehydration.

The spine

WATER is a vital lubricant for the vertebral joints of the spine, where it helps the contact surfaces to glide over one another. Water is also held in the disc core within the intervertebral space and supports the compression weight of the upper part of the body. Three-quarters of the weight of the upper body is supported by the water volume that is stored in the disc core with the rest being supported by the fi brous materials around the disc.

The digestion

WATER is vital for the body’s digestive processes and dehydration is often the cause of the condition we know as heartburn. Heartburn can occur, if a lack of water in the body prevents digestion occurring in a co-ordinated manner and the valves either side of the stomach become weakened and relaxed. Stomach acid can then pass in to the windpipe when the person is lying down, producing a pain usually known as heartburn.

The stomach

DYSPEPTIC pain is one of the most important signals of dehydration that your body can give. Water is vitally important in helping provide a strong and thick mucus barrier to line the stomach wall and prevent it from being damaged by the acids, which act to digest food. Colitis and false appendicitis pain could also be initial signs of serious dehydration.

The immune system

It is commonly believed that stomach ulcers are caused by infections. However the type of bacteria responsible, helicobacters, live in the gut naturally and are believed to take advantage of an immune system weakened by dehydration. Although the pain is localised around the stomach, it is the whole body that is dehydrated.
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