The fact that water constitutes about 60 percent (in average adults) of our bodies tills you how important is water for us.
Water has many major and crucial functions in our bodies; water is:
- Essential component of the structure of body tissues, so it keeps your skin fresh and taut.
- Helps regulate our body temperature through perspiration (sweat).
- Participates in metabolic reactions, energy conversion, and is a medium for all reactions, so it helps in weight loss.
- Carries nutrients, and waste products throughout the body and out of kidneys and digestive system.
- Serves as solvent for many nutrients and small molecules; such as: glucose, vitamins and minerals.
- Act as lubricant and cushion around joints and inside the eyes, spinal cord, and surrounding the fetus in the womb.
What happens when you don’t get enough water?
- If the cartilage –in joints- is dehydrated, the rate of damage is increased, resulting in joint deterioration & increased pain.
- Brain tissue is 85% water. With dehydration, the level of energy generation in the brain is decreased, usually resulting in depression & chronic fatigue syndrome.
- When there isn't sufficient water, waste products are not effectively removed by kidneys, which may result in stress and damage on them.
- Loss of 20% of body water (dehydration) may cause death; loss of only 10% causes severe disorders.
- Severity of the disorders and imbalances that happen to the body depends on the degree of dehydration, starting with vague discomfort and proceeding to loss of appetite, decreased blood volume, impaired physical performance, difficulty concentrating, failure to regulate body temperature, dizziness, increased weakness
How much should I drink?
Most people forget to drink water, they wait until they feel thirsty to drink it, but usually that isn’t enough, the amount of reasonable intake of water to maintain health and body efficiency is:
- For general adults: you need to drink 35 ml/ kg of body weight, for example if you weigh 65 kg, you multiply 35 ml * 65 kg resulting in 2275 ml per day, almost 9 cups of water /day.
- For active adults: the amount is increased depending on their activity level and humidity conditions, etc.
- For children: it is 50 -60 ml/kg of body weight.
Is it OK to drink other beverages to get water?
Caffeinated beverages stimulate the adrenal glands and act as diuretics and beverages with added sugar like soda and fruit juices rob your body of necessary water more than adding to it, other than these drinks, yes you can.
How can I increase my water intake?
- Keep it close. You will remember to drink water when you see it.
- Flavor water. If you have difficulty drinking plain water and find it undesirable, you can flavor it with squirt of lemon or rosewater, or you can add strawberry halves or berries to sit for about 5 minutes before drinking.
- Eat Something Spicy. Spicy foods stimulate you to drink water.
- Develop reminders. Set mobile or computer reminder to help you remember.
- L. Mahan, S. Escott-Stump; Krause’s food and nutrition therapy; 12th edition.
- E. Whitney, S. Rolfes; Understanding nutrition; 12th edition.