(Anna Danteva’s interview for www.puls.bg, 10/09/2015)
1.Why water is so important?
Water is a basic element of nature and our bodies. It represents 75% of the body mass of newborns, and goes down to 50% in adults. Drinking water is extremely important for maintenance of the fluid balance in the organism. The elderly are at considerable risk of dehydration in cases of insufficient water intake. Constipation is only one of the unpleasant problems, linked with insufficient water consumption, that’s why the regular drinking of fluids remains the best cure.
2. Does it matter the type of water we consume – spring, mineral, tap? Which of them is recommended, should we alternate them? Why?
The mineral waters are usually obtained from 300 to 700 m depth. Through processes which had taken place for thousands of years, the minerals from the rocks had passed into the water of the water cavities in the earth’s womb. That’s why these waters are with higher total mineralization and spring with a temperature higher than 20oC. The most used brands of mineral water in Bulgaria are DEVIN, Gorna Bania, Bankia, Hisar, Thorn Spring etc., with total mineral content of 200-450 mg/l.
Spring waters are obtained much closer to the earth’s ground – from 0-100 m depth, at a temperature below 20oC. As “younger” waters, they are with very low mineralization – usually between 80-100 mg/l. DEVIN spring water with a pink label is the most widespread spring water in Bulgaria and it is with very low total mineralization – 82 mg/l and very low sodium/salt content – 5.4 mg/l. It is recommended for babies, in low-sodium diets and when it is important to avoid water retention in the organism.
Table water also can be with low mineral content but this is a result of treatment aimed at disinfection or removal of unwanted micro- or macroelements or bad smell/taste. Tap water is an example of table water. It is filtered and compulsory treated with chlorine, passed kilometers on the water supply network and changed its content depending on the pipes and reservoirs through which it has flowed and has been standing. In some regions it is “hard” and with higher mineral content.
The recommendation for variety and rotation of the waters respectively applies also for drinking water. The aim is to avoid the accumulation of minerals, and also the body not to get used to the benefits derived from mineral water. Unfortunately, the recommendation for alternation is interpreted incorrectly. A representative survey, held in March in Bulgaria, shows that 77% of the consumers of bottled water alternate the waters, but a whole 46% of them replace one brand of mineral water with another. Such alternation of the waters does not make much sense – the body cannot relax, as even though with different content concerning the amounts of the minerals, most of the mineral waters contain the same type of substances and are highly mineralized.
3. Can we say water consumption is a preventive measure against various diseases and conditions, concerning health? Against which?
Not any single living creature will survive without water. Water affects all spheres of our life and is an important part for keeping our health. It helps in the fight against infectious disease and cancer, maintains the health of the immune system and skin, takes place in the body’s biochemistry and contributes to the rising of the energy levels. The drinking water perfectly substitutes high-caloric or soft drinks, full of sugar and thus helps in the reduction of body weight. Water removes the products of the breakdown of fats and naturally suppresses our appetite.
4. What the insufficient water consumption may lead to?
The insufficient water consumption may lead to disruption of the functions of the nervous system, expressed as fatigue, headache, poor concentration and bad memory. The body temperature rises with 0.1-0.2oC for every 1% of dehydration, and when the latter exceeds 2%, the working capacity is reduced. According to the statistics, every sixth Bulgarian has kidney problems. This does not come to be interpreted that it is necessary to overhydrate. The statement that the more water we drink the better it is for our health and the health of our kidneys in particular, is not true at all. The recommended daily amount of water for a healthy person depends on many factors – body weight, type of work, way of nutrition etc. Every overdose with water, on the other hand, leads to kidney deterioration.
5. Is thirst the only symptom that indicates the need of body hydration? Which are the other symptoms (if there are such)?
The insufficient intake of water impedes the cell function by inducing an electrolyte imbalance, reduction of plasma volume and inability to regulate body temperature. Most of the people do not drink water until they feel thirsty. In this moment, however, the body fluids are reduced below the level necessary for proper body functioning. The water losses are increased in exercises, hot weather, low air humidity, high altitude, diet rich in fibers, consumption of drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. So, my advice is not to wait until feeling thirsty, but to drink water regularly at short intervals. The other symptoms of dehydration are: dry skin, confusion, dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps, exhaustion and irregular pulse.
6. What is the necessary daily amount of water for the organism?
As I mentioned above, the answer of this question is quite relative and depends on the individual characteristics of the person. It is usually recommended to drink 1.5-2 l of fluids a day. A practical advice for self-stimulation to consume water is to learn to always keep a bottle of water on your desk in the office or in your bag. It is important to know that for every drink that contains caffeine, you should drink an additional glass of water.
7. And particularly for children – how much water should they consume daily?
The rule of individual approach again is valid here – the different children have different activity. In summary, newborns should consume 150 ml fluids per kilogram body weight, children – 50-60 ml/kg, and adults – in comparison – about 30-35 ml/kg. The different types of fruit drinks, the fruits themselves, soups etc. may be sources of water as well.
8. Is it recommended to consume cold water in the hot days? Does it help or harm the organism?
The consumption of very cold water constricts the blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract and thus hinders digestion and slows down the absorption of nutrients. On the other hand, the cold water requires the release of energy from the body and our metabolism, and thus calories are spent. Not by chance, one of the dietary tricks for lazy wasting of calories is drinking ice cold water and even chewing ice. Talking about the weather, drinking plenty of fluids is compulsory in order to prevent overheating and heat stroke. It is desirable in swelters the fluids to contain salt in order to compensate the losses with the sweat. Ayran, bouillons and natural juices are the best beverages to prevent from dehydration in sweltering heat.
9. What about hot water – how it affects health? There is evidence that it may help in losing weight or in some health conditions, is it so?
One of the recommendations of the folk healer Peter Dimkov is exactly this – to drink hot water especially before meal, which according to his words dissolves the internal fats and depositions that hinder the proper digestion and the disposal of accumulated toxins through the induced sweating. Recently, much is talked about drinking of hot water, especially in the morning before meal with added juice of half a lemon for alkalizing or with a few drops of birch juice for drainage. This is a great ritual to start our day.