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The wonder called water

THE ELIXIR OF LIFE Drinking water is a great way to stay fit Photo: AP

THE ELIXIR OF LIFE Drinking water is a great way to stay fit Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: Bill Hughes

It smoothens wrinkles, fights bad breath, eliminates toxins… Just six to eight glasses of water a day keep you in fine shape

Water as beauty aid was probably known to pre-historic women. Healthcare specialists have been prescribing it forever. “Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day eliminates toxins, maintains body temperature and homoeostasis,” says Kousalya Nathan, lifestyle and age management consultant.

“Our body is made up of two-thirds water; hence, we need plenty of the liquid to prevent dehydration and damage to tissues.”

Practitioners of Ayurveda recommend Jala Kunjal, in which you drink salted, lukewarm water on an empty stomach early in the morning. Then, you churn your midriff a bit and force the water out.

Ayurveda claims that Kunjal cleanses the system of dyspepsia, hyper-acidity, indigestion, food poisoning, bad breath and skin/blood disorders. Consult a doctor before you start off, though. In the more merciful “Usha Paana Chikitsa” (dawn water treatment), you drink 1.5 litres of water the minute you open your eyes. The treatment is more effective if the water has been stored in a copper jug. This habit, users believe, fights obesity and keeps out cold-causing germs.

Myriad benefits

We know that right amounts of water intake improve digestion, absorption, circulation and excretion. It keeps cells well hydrated for proper functioning, maintains muscle tone and prevents muscle cramping. It reduces the risk of developing kidney stones, increases energy level, and helps lubricate joints. Two glasses before a meal is a clever tool for weight loss.

One study in Britain came out with a curious result. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, women drank one-and-half litres of water daily for eight weeks.

While some volunteers drank regular tap water, others sipped on natural mineral water (it has anti-inflammatory properties) from the Lake district in Britain.

A Visia complexion system analysed the before-and-after pictures for extent and depth of wrinkles, texture of skin and amount of damage.

Astonishingly, those who drank tap water had their wrinkles smoothed out by 19 per cent. Those who drank mineral had a dramatic 24 per cent reduction, proving that the kind of water you drink counts too.

Still, experts doubt if just drinking water gives the skin a radiant, youthful complexion and irons out wrinkles. Water travels in the system rather quickly. Your dry skin/wrinkles could be a genetic or environment consequence. It is possible that once the toxins are flushed out internally, acne breakouts are less likely.

So, is water a skin tonic? “Washing the face is the least talked-about topic, but if done properly, it can promote a healthy glow,” says Dr. Kousalya. Warm water opens up your pores and cold water closes them, so wash your face with warm water before using skin cleansing products and cold water after.

Washing the face three times a day cleanses the skin, cools skin temperature, improves circulation, and stimulates nerve endings.

Check your skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive, ageing, sun-damaged) and follow the skincare ritual, she says.

Avoid an overkill

And, don't obsess about the ‘8-by-8' rule — drinking eight ounces of water eight times a day. Ayurveda clearly says that water intake should only be to the extent of quenching thirst. Excess intake might even turn out to be negative; it can upset the balance.

So, listen to your thirst signal. Doing sweaty work? Drink to prevent dehydration and heat sickness. Fever? Sip warm water. Pregnant? Nursing? You'll need more liquid intake. You could get the extra glasses from food ( rasam is a good example), fruits, veggies, milk, buttermilk and tea.

Water in the right quantities stimulates blood circulation. It regulates the skin's natural balance. Warm water hydrates, revitalises, detoxifies and oxygenates the skin.

Externally, it gets rid of blackheads and makes large pores smaller. Drinking water makes the body more relaxed and invigorated. It replaces the moisture lost in everyday activities.

No contest. Water wins. Just make sure it is free of chemicals.

For a glowing you!

Wash your face twice to remove make up. The first wash removes the make-up; the second cleanses the skin.

Steam your face for five to seven minutes once in 10 days; it opens pores and washes away hidden dust.

Be gentle with your skin. Don't over-wash or scrub hard; it destroys suppleness.

After washing, gently pat your face dry

Ice-massage the face for a minute before make-up. It acts as a toner, and the make-up will stay longer.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 7:49:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/The-wonder-called-water/article15530688.ece

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