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WATER— Are We Drinking Enough?

By Nasim Rehmatullah, Al-Nahl, USA

The Holy Qurán says,

"And Allah has created every animal from water..." (24:46)

"And He it is Who has created man from water..." (25:55)

"And We made from water every living thing." (21:31)

As most of you would know, next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. A normal adult is sixty to seventy percent water. We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days. Yet most people have no idea how much water they should drink. In fact, many of us live in a state of dehydration.

A review of the body physiology highlights the profound importance of water in virtually all body functions. With less than optimal water intake waste products would accumulate in our body setting up a domino effect of a host of impaired body functions. When kidneys remove uric acid and urea, these must be dissolved in water. If there is not enough water, wastes are not removed as effectively, and may build up as kidney.

Water is also vital for chemical reactions, in digestion and metabolism. It carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells through the blood and helps to cool the body through perspiration. Water also lubricates our joints. Insufficient water in our system can impair every aspect of our physiology.

Drinking sufficient water can boost your energy, endurance, concentration and the number of calories you bum, plus beat back cold and a host of other ailments. You have antibodies in the mucus that coats your throat, which can help trap cold viruses. You can foil this ingenious defense even if you are minimally dehydrated because a lack of water dries out your mucus-producing tissues. If you are constipated, it may be because you are not drinking enough water, especially if you have had a lot of fiber, which will not do its job unless you have enough fluids in your system to flush things through. Your skin needs water to stay soft and supple. Water is good for drinking, swimming, washing, bathing, and essential for ablution.

Proper water intake is a key to weight loss. By not drinking enough water, many people incur excess body fat because the body cannot metabolize fats adequately.

Lack of water causes joint and muscle soreness and this impairs physical activity.

The minimum need for a healthy adult is about 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. You need more if you exercise a lot or live in a hot climate. Overweight people should drink an extra glass of water for every 25 pounds they exceed their ideal weight (this recommendation is not for people who are ill or those that require fluid restriction. They need to follow their physician's advice.) The rule of thumb formula for daily water intake is half ounce per pound of body weight if you are not active and 2/3 ounce per pound if you are athletic.

Your fluid intake should be spread out evenly over the course of the day. During times of fasting, it may be spread out during the permitted times of eating and drinking. Plain water is best. The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) was asked, "Which drink is most agreeable." He answered, "Sweet cold water." When the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) drank, he stopped twice to take a breath. He observed that this method quenches thirst helps to digest food, and is good for health Most forms of liquid count, including soup, fresh fruits and vegetable juices. Most are 75 percent water. Carbonated drinks make you feel fuller, so you will drink less. Alcohol and caffeine drinks like tea and coffee are diuretics and may contribute to dehydration

Increasing your fluid intake will increase your frequency of going to the bathroom, initially. After a few weeks the body adjusts, the bladder adjusts and you urinate less frequently but in larger amounts.

Think about it. Think water. Water is life. "Allah has sent down water from the sky and has quickened therewith the earth after its death..." (Holy Qurán, 16:66). By consuming those eight glasses of water throughout the day, you could be on your way to a healthier, leaner body.