National Nutrition Week 2017, running from 9 to 15 October and, with its theme “Rethink your drink – choose water”, aims to help us reset when it comes to water and get into the habit of making water our beverage choice each day. Water contains no kilojoules, hydrates, is essential for health and is the best choice to quench thirst.
Water constitutes the major portion of the human body (50 – 70 per cent or about two-thirds) and is essential for life. One of the main functions of water in the body is to regulate the body temperature. Many nutrients, including certain vitamins and minerals, are dissolved in water in the body.
We need to drink or consume water to enable the body to absorb nutrients from food and transport them around in the body. Water also removes waste products from the body through the kidneys when we urinate.
Water is lost via the kidneys, the bowels, the skin and the lungs. Most of these losses occur without our conscious knowledge. It is therefore important to drink clean, safe water to replace these losses.
If water that was lost from the body is not replaced, signs of dehydration will be evident. Fatigue, irritability, increased thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, dizziness and headaches are some of the symptoms of dehydration. When a person is dehydrated for a long time they may have pain in the joints, lower back, be constipated, have poor skin elasticity and their urine will be darker in colour.
Do not wait for your body to get thirsty – drink plenty of clean, safe water to replace these losses.
Other factors that increase the amount of water that is needed are fever due to illness, vomiting, diarrhoea, breastfeeding and physical activity.
Water is highly recommended for daily fluid intake as it provides no additional energy unlike sugary drinks.
The following tips may help to increase the intake of water:
South African tap water is generally safe to drink and the South African national standard compares well with the World Health Organization (WHO) limits. There may be areas around the country where the water may at times not meet the required technical standard, hence the need to ensure that the water one drinks is clean and safe.
If there are concerns about the safety of local water supply, then either boil the water for three minutes or add one teaspoon of bleach to 25 litres of water and leave it to stand for two hours. Some tap and natural water may have a slight brown tinge from humic acid which is harmless and does not affect drinking water quality.
Store drinking and cooking water in separate clean containers.
Save water! Clean, safe water is a scarce resource. [/vc_column][/vc_row]