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The health benefits of drinking more water.

It is a well known fact that we are made up of a high percentage of water. This water needs replacing every day as we use it up in body functioning and digestion of food not to mention sweating following exertion

A good method of checking how much water you are taking and how it is affecting your health is to examine your urine. Leaving aside any infections etc. your urine should be a slight straw colour when excreted. If it is a strong yellow or orange you are not drinking enough.

You will need to increase it to a level where the urine is the colour mentioned above and continue to drink plenty every day from now on. Tap water is ok in the UK and in many parts of the developed world but if you are travelling or moving to another country you will need to confirm the normal drinking habits of the local community. Bear in mind they might have built up an immunity from parasites in the water. If you are not sure stick to commercially bottled water or use a purification tablet to sterilise the water. Other methods of sterilisation include boiling , exposure to sunlight and filtering. When I worked in the Sudanese desert we used filtration methods. You are safe with boiled water providing you boil it for some minutes.

Water flushes out the Kidneys and is better that tea and coffee and alcohol as these drinks are diuretics making you want to urinate more. The modern pipework in UK housing is copper or plastic and not much lead is found these days. If you drink from the tap let it run for a while to clear any particulates before drinking it.

Lack of water can causes headaches, dehydration and irritation of the urethra causing pain whilst urinating. The best way to consume water is in small quantities regularly throughout the day and increase this during vigorous exercise and when sweating.

Some people find the taste of water boring so it is a good idea to add slices of fresh lemon to give it some flavour. However in the scheme of things drinking more water is much easier than losing weight or increasing your exercise routine. It does have some excellent health benefits though.

ps Never drink sea water

Peter Bull ( Author of the get in-touch series)

Published inDIETHealth