All the fluids of the body have their part in its important functional processes, and in order that they may properly do so it is absolutely essential that they assume a proper consistency. They must not be too thick or too thin. Their condition in this respect depends largely upon the amount of water sup-plied to them. If this water is deficient in quantity, or impure, disorders of all kinds are very easily acquired.
Not only is an abnormal condition produced by neglect in this way, but under such circumstances it is far more difficult to develop the external muscular system.
Usually the desire for water will accurately indicate how much is needed by the body. The power of the body, however, to adapt itself to conditions of all kinds whether normal or abnormal, is remarkable.
Habit has a wonderful influence, and it is an easy matter to become gradually accustomed to drinking less and less water. If for some reason you are not supplied regularly with pure water, you will usually lose the desire for it. This is a good proof that the desire for the fluid, after all, depends very greatly upon habit. So, too, if you are not engaged in some active muscular labor that is inducive of copious perspiration, you are far more liable to lose this longing for water. Of course, under conditions of vigorous exercise, the action of the pores is greatly accelerated, and considerably more water is required than under ordinary circumstances.
You should remember that three-fourths of the body is composed of water. Science tells us that every part of the body, except the bones, is practically in a fluid state. This fluid is composed of minute cells, and each cell is absorbing and eliminating a certain amount of water at all times. Dead, effete matter, or cells, are carried away, as before mentioned, by the blood. Now- the proper consistency of the blood depends upon the quantity of water supplied to it.
Water is a valuable external cleansing agent, but it is a hundred times more important as a means of internal purification. Imagine the vast interior surface of all the internal organs ! It is probably fifty times greater than the external surface of the body, and it is only when one is supplied with a normal quantity of water that this cleansing process can be thoroughly accomplished.
Those occupied in mental pursuits are more especially liable to lose the water drinking habit. They become absorbed in their occupations, and if water is not near at hand, they gradually find themselves drinking less day by day. It is only when extremely hot weather appears and induces copious perspiration that they drink water freely.
If you have lost the desire for water by ignoring thirst, you must try to recover it. Do not force water on yourself, but keep it near at hand and take a few swallows at frequent intervals. If you will give this hint attention, you will gradually acquire a normal thirst. It is a good idea to cultivate the plan of drinking a glass of water on rising and one or two on retiring at night.
You must realize to the utmost the necessity of using the purest of water. Such water is that which falls as rain, but usually well water, if not contaminated by poisonous drainage, will be found perfectly wholesome. Water that has been distilled and aerated is always a most satisfactory drink. But ordinarily, one can depend upon his sense of taste to guard his health. Pure water is entirely tasteless. If there are elements within it that give it a distinct taste the water is not pure. If the water has no taste, it will usually be found to be pure or very nearly so.
My readers must not gain the impression that in thus emphasizing the great importance of drinking water, I mean that a large quantity of it should be habitually imbibed. You can easily drink too much water. Simply acquire a habit of drinking freely to the extent of your ordinary desire, though if you are taking less than three to six pints per day, you may immediately conclude that you are not using a sufficient quantity, and should take means of encouraging a thirst in the way indicated. One should use ordinarily, the above stated quantity of water in twenty-four hours.