Water's role in pain avoidance.

The human body requires a fluid intake of at least six to eight glasses a day. This can come in a variety of forms, ranging from plain water to soups, tea and other drinks, or the juice in fruit and other things we eat. But the human body has evolved over millions of years to rely primarily on what nature provides, which is water, not coffee or fruit juice or sports drinks or alcohol. These man-made drinks all contribute fluids of course, but there's nothing like water for doing the essential task of flushing the rubbish out of the system. It provides fluid in the simple, natural form that the body is used to.

Natural signals for fluid intake

The body reminds us from time to time that it needs more fluid intake. The first signal is thirst. And if we don't respond to it, the headache is likely to follow, as a stepped-up warning that fluid intake is needed quickly. There's also another signal that is commonly overlooked. If you find yourself yawning and can't understand why, it's often just a sign that your body wants water.

Water is best

Thirst is such a basic sensation that we instinctively know what is required to satisfy it, yet in modern life we often reach out for the wrong solution. Many of the fluids we drink are not really intended to satisfy thirst, but to stimulate or relax us in some way, or alter our behaviour. Coffee and alcohol (especially wine and spirits) are obvious examples. Not surprisingly, they often just make us feel more thirsty, partly because they actually need more water to flush them through the body system. What we need is water.

Special needs for water

There are certain situations in which drinking water is especially important. These include: when engaged in vigorous physical effort such as hard physical work, vigorous sport, and many forms of physical recreation, especially if perspiration is increased; when consuming alcohol, and afterwards; when suffering from many illnesses, especially those accompanied by fever; when temperatures are high, causing us to perspire; when working or living in air-conditioned premises where the atmosphere is often dried-out; when travelling in an airliner, where the air is usually very dehydrated.

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