Nutritionist Speak with Dr Neelanjana Singh

Nutritionist Speak with Dr Neelanjana Singh

Can you think of the one thing that’s common between the earth’s surface and your body? It may seem like a tough question, but the answer is surprisingly simple! Both, the human body and the surface of the earth are 70% water. Yes, that’s how much important water is for both the Earth and our body to survive.

Even the small amounts of water that we lose through sweat, especially when outdoors in the heat, can cause us to feel unwell. So, Children First spoke to Dr. Neelanjana Singh, National Executive Member of Indian Dietetic Association, to get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about water. Dr. Singh has over 30 years of experience and she created and headed the nutrition facility at PSRI Hospital. She also authored two books, “Our Kid Eats Everything (Hachette) and Why Should I Eat Healthy (TERI).

1. How much water should I drink in a day?

The quantity of water that you need to drink in a day varies greatly depending on several factors, like the temperature and humidity level of the environment you are in and the level of your physical activity. But on average, we should drink at least 6 glasses of water in a day.

2. Drinking plain water is too boring. Can it be made more interesting?

While it’s a good idea to get used to the tastelessness of water (because, at times, it can be the most refreshing thing you drink!), you could spruce it up with some flavour. You could add sliced lemon, a sprig of mint or lemongrass leaves (gently crushed) to your glass of water.

3. Are there other healthy beverages that contribute towards my daily water intake?

Beverages like milk, lassi, aam panna, nimbu pani, and smoothies made with fruits and veggies are healthy and count toward your water intake. Make these drinks at home and do not add too much sugar. While packaged fruit juices and sherbets do count towards your daily liquid intake, but it is not a healthy practice to drink such beverages very often or to treat them as a replacement for water. These packaged beverages usually contain added sugar and additives, and do not offer any substantial nutrients.

4. How do I know if I am drinking enough water?

It’s fairly simple to find out if you’re drinking enough water. All you need to do is to keep a watch on the colour of your urine every time you use the bathroom. A pale yellow colour indicates that you are adequately hydrated, but a darker or deeper yellow tells you that you need to drink more water.
Very often, a headache could also be a signal to drink more water. If your mouth and tongue feel dry, you probably need to drink more water. Constipation is another common problem that can often be solved by drinking more water.

5. At what temperature should I drink water? Is it ok to drink ice-cold water?

The ideal temperature of drinking water is as close as possible to body temperature. It may be alright to drink chilled water or beverages only once in a while. This way, the body doesn’t have to work hard to bring the water down to its temperature.

6. What’s the best way to store water at home?

Avoid storing water in plastic bottles. The plastic material of these bottles releases chemicals that contaminate the water. It is best to use glass, steel, or copper containers for storing water. Water that is infused with copper offers some health benefits, and you can reap them by storing your water in copper bottles. It is especially important to remember never to store water in plastic bottles in the freezer. This can be particularly harmful to our bodies.

7. How do I ensure that the water I drink is safe for consumption?

Water purity is very important for our health, as many infectious diseases can spread through water. At home, we can boil the water or install a water purifier.