A bout 60 per cent of our body is made up of water. For it to continue to function properly, it’s crucial that we take in enough of the drink on a daily basis. Hydration is key to helping all the organs in our system work efficiently.
Since our bodies lose water through breathing, sweating and digestion, experts encourage consumption of water or fluids and food that contains water every day. Doctors recommend one to two glasses of water 30 minutes after a meal, and to drink plenty more two hours after meals.
Private Kamanzi, a nutritionist at Amazon Wellness Centre Ltd, Remera, cautions against eating while drinking, explaining that if there are solid particles in the food and water is taken immediately after (or during) eating, it mixes with the solid particles, hence hardening the work of the enzymes of chemical digestion.
He adds that gastric acid is responsible for chemical digestion, for instance, taking water immediately after food complicates both chemical and physical digestion to separate food that is in liquid form and that is in solid particles, which complicates digestion from the mouth to the stomach.
Kamanzi notes, “When digestion is complicated, issues like heartburn arise due to mixing solid food with liquids (water, juice).”
He also says that heart burn comes as a result, but after a long time, one develops ulcers as the stomach walls are damaged. When acid is rising, it has an effect on the stomach walls which creates wounds.
Kamanzi adds that taking water during or right after meals causes faster digestion because solid particles lose their form and become easier for the stomach to digest, this affects the digestion period, and when digestion is quickened, you become hungry sooner.
“Taking water or other liquids like juice immediately after meals changes the composition of food, therefore, some food particles remain undigested,” he explains.
Kamanzi says that the best time to take water is in the morning, immediately after waking up; it is advisable to take a litre of warm water because in the night, the body regenerates the cells, digests the food, and it is during sleep that blood circulation takes place, and metabolism is done.
Kamanzi says taking water in the morning assists the body, especially warm water, since it is required for the proper functioning of the brain. Water also nourishes, activates and gives power to the brain.
Kamanzi says people who feel nauseous whenever they take water in the morning should go for a check-up as they could be suffering from amoebiasis (intestine disease).
He also says that water helps with proper kidney functioning, since it is in the kidney that filtration of different food particles is conducted, in a part called the glomerulus where fatty acids and glucose, for example, are filtered.
“If you are not taking enough water, you are at a risk of developing kidney disease,” Kamanzi says.
Kamanzi also says that lack of enough water might lead to diabetes insipidus, which might be noticed in the future; lack of enough water in the body also leads to constipation which comes with other complications like haemorrhoids (swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus). One can also lose essential composition of the cells like (body cells, skin cells, and muscle cells, among other cells).
He further says that water increases the quantity of blood; blood viscosity (measurement of the thickness and stickiness of an individual’s blood) is due to amount of water consumed.
However, he advises against drinking cold water as it causes respiratory and gastro disorder, which changes the functioning of the body; cold water can also cause influenza and bronchitis.
Experts advise that an average person must take three litres per day at different intervals — if taken at once, it becomes excessive for the body.
Research says that lack of enough water in the body is characterised by dried lips, constant tiredness, lack of eye blood, and excessive headaches.
Schadrack Uwayezu, a pharmacist at SONARWA Pharmacy, says that drinking water helps one to relax, release stress, fatigue and depression.
He says that most of the body is made up of water; if one hates drinking water then there is something not operating well in the body.
Drinking enough water helps reduce sugar in the body, as well as strain, both of which could worsen the situation of a diabetic person, he adds.