The Natural Drink - When to Drink Water - When Drinking Water may be Harmful - How to

Purify Water - Importance of a Pure Water Supply ure water is the natural drink of mankind. P As a cleanser of the system it is invaluable. The Japanese, indeed, believe that plenty of water internally and externally is the very best way of preserving health and prolonging life. When they are under training as gymnasts they will drink as much as a gallon of water every day.

Their ideas have filtered to the West, and many people in this country try the "water cure," drinking tumbler after tumbler of water with the idea that it is the cure all, an elixir of health. But, like everything else, water drinking can be carried to the extreme. If an excessive amount of fluid is taken with meals, for example, it interferes with digestion by diluting the digestive juices and overloading the stomach. Even when it is taken between meals it is apt to hurry the food along the digestive canal, and thus prevents the absorption of nourishment into the blood.

Whilst many people drink too little water, others take far too much for health. This may be the result of thirst, but the idea that thirst should be taken as an indication that the system requires fluid is not invariably correct. The sensation may be due to a slight inflammatory condition of the back of the throat, and continual drinking simply aggravates this; iced water should never be taken for the relief of thirst because of its ill-effect upon the digestion.

When and When Not to Drink Water

The ideal time to drink water is first thing in the morning about an hour before breakfast. The stomach at this time is empty, thus digestion is not interfered with. The water also cleanses the stomach, and prepares it to deal with the next supply of food. About half a tumbler of water is sufficient in most cases, and the same amount may be taken two or three hours after breakfast and two or three hours after the midday meal with perfect safety.

The quantity of water which it is desirable to take varies with the season of the year, with the work done, and with the individual. In summer the body requires more water. Those who are taking a large amount of outdoor exercise require to drink water to make up for the loss of fluid by evaporation and perspiration. But whilst water drinking in health and in moderate amount is an excellent hygienic measure, under certain circumstances it may do a great deal of harm. Anyone suffering from dyspepsia and dilated stomach should drink fluid only as it is ordered by the doctor. A large amount of water is simply a strain upon the delicate stomach. In some cases of heart affection and kidney ailments, water drinking in any excess may do a good deal of harm. Whenever fluid is taken into the body it has to pass through the blood-vessels and. the heart, and may be the cause of that extra strain upon this organ which it is so desirable to avoid. It must not be forgotten also that drinking hard water in any quantity may be the cause of dyspepsia and constipation owing to the excess of lime it contains. Distilled water is the safest to drink, and when this cannot be procured the best plan is to boil the water for about fifteen minutes. This not only precipitates the lime, but destroys poisons in the water.

Filtered Water

The idea that filtering water renders it perfectly safe to drink is very common. But when one is at all suspicious of the water supply, boiling is the only unfailing safeguard.

The filter, even when it is perfectly clean, cannot prevent the passage of germs, and it is these invisible poisons in the water that are the real danger. People are becoming more alive to the importance of a pure water supply. This question is the one essential thing to investigate before taking a house, or even going into rooms for a holiday. People who have been living a long time in a house may not derive any harm from drinking water, because they have become more or less immune to the poisons from habit; but strangers, being "virgin soil" for the microbes, may contract serious illnesses.

Mineral waters of known purity should be drunk when there is any suspicion that the water supply is not above reproach, and when distilled water cannot be procured.