This is the final of the two articles appearing on why drinking water is considered good for the human body. However, healthcare practitioners also point out that drinking lot of water is only good for those people who have healthy kidneys and those persons with chronic kidney impairment or related renal problems should avoid drinking excessive water.
As thick smog continued to hang over the Malaysian peninsula in June this year, some parts of the country registered poor readings on the Air Pollutant Index (API).
The temperature in many parts of the country soared and hovered around 30 degrees Celsius.
But when the thickness of the haze reached its peak, health authorities asked members of the general public to remain indoors, unless they had something urgent to attend to.
"Stay indoors and drink a lot of warm water," Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told reporters when quizzed on what the precautions that the public should take in such a situation.
WHY DRINK WARM WATER?
Many people believe that drinking hot or warm water as opposed to cold or chilled water is simply an old wives tale.
However, healthcare practitioners indicate that drinking warm water prolongs the life of body cells.
COLD WATER VS WARM WATER
Drinking cold water is considered more satisfying as it quenches our thirst.
"However scientists actually believe that the intake of cold or chilled water solidifies the fats in our food and make it harder for us to digest and disperse the unwanted fats from our body," medical practitioner Dr A. Radha said.
She added that cold water is not as good for hydration as compared with water that is at room temperature. There is a theory which indicates that cold water causes the blood vessels surrounding the stomach to shrink, which slows absorption.
Some medical researchers have varying opinions on whether drinking cold water is as good for the body as drinking warm water, particularly while a person is exercising.
"Some physicians suggest that water at room temperature is better than cold water, because the body has to expend energy heating the cold water consumed to bring it at par with the body's temperature.
"On the other hand, some doctors say that after physical exertion, you should drink cold water as it will help cool the body more effectively, than water which is at room temperature," Dr Radha stated.
She added that most people who drink cold water are likely to consume more of it, since it tends to taste better and is more satisfying. Even if drinking cold water results in marginal water loss, the extra water that a person probably ends up drinking makes up for this.
THE CASE AGAINST COLD DRINKS
Dr Radha points out that consuming cold drinks is not very healthy as they solidify the fats from the foods we have just eaten or are eating at present.
"This makes it harder for the body to digest and remove unwanted fats from its system.
"However, if we simply swap our cold drinks for a warm drink such as warm water, coffee or tea, the warm fluids will keep the fats in our foods in liquid form, ease the digestive system and help the fats pass through our body reducing the risk of clogged arteries," she said.
"If you are attempting to bring down a fever, or assist someone who has sunstroke, you should not immerse that person in cold water. Instead you should ask the person to drink lukewarm water, or even slightly warm water," Dr Radha advised.
Dr Radha explained that cold water can provoke chills, which may actually raise the body's temperature, though taking cold baths are helpful in bringing a high fever down.
If people with fever drink cold water that is very icy, they may also get chilly, so lukewarm or tepid water may be a better choice for them.
Also warm or hot water relaxes the body in a better way. Cold water might be more refreshing, but it can also disrupt your vocal cords, she noted.
KNOWING IF YOU ARE DRINKING ENOUGH WATER
Dr Radha said that the best indicator on whether the body is getting enough water is the colour of one's urine.
"If the urine is dark yellow, chances are that a person is not getting enough water. If the urine passed out is clear to very light yellow in colour, then the fluid intake is adequate. Remember that the colour of urine passed in the morning will always be a little darker," she said.
She also pointed out that scientists believe that drinking warm water with meals also helps in losing weight.
"If we simply swap our cold drinks for a warm drink like warm water, coffee, tea or herbal drinks, the warm fluids will help the fats in our food to remain in a liquid state and will ease the digestive system and help release the fats from our body, thereby reducing the chance of our arteries becoming clogged with fat particles.
Dr Radha also mentioned that as per traditional Chinese medicine, a person should drink water at room temperature or slightly warm.
"Cold water is not so good for your stomach," she noted.
PS:No Wonder :)