Water: Why Is It So Important?

March 21, 2016


Water is an essential nutrient. The body needs more water each day than any other nutrient. So much so, that you can survive only a few days without water, whereas a deficiency of other nutrients may take weeks, months, or even years to develop. Water also makes up about 60% of an adult’s body weight and an even higher percentage of a child’s. Because of this, consuming enough water throughout the day is one of the most important things that you can do for your body.

Important functions of water:

  • Vital to digestion and metabolism because it acts as a medium for chemical reactions in the body
  • Carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells through blood
  • Regulates body temperature through perspiration
  • Acts as a lubricant and cushion around joints, inside the eyes and the spinal cord
  • Removes waste through sweat and urine
  • Assists in respiration by moistening the lungs to facilitate intake of oxygen and excretion of carbon dioxide
  • Vital component of the body’s tissues and organs
  • Maintains blood volume

So how much do you need?

    Adequate intake per day is:

  • 15 cups (120 ounces) for adult men
  • 11 cups (88 ounces) for adult women
  • Is based on total water intake from food and beverages, including milk, juice, and tap or bottled water
  • Although most water intake comes from beverages, solid foods also make a significant contribution
  •  Many fruit and vegetables are more than 80% water
  • Water in caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea counts toward total water intake, even though caffeine may have a diuretic effect on some people

How do you know if you are getting enough?

  • One way to monitor water intake is to check the color and odor of your urine
  • Dark yellow instead of pale urine is a sign of insufficient water intake
  • Urine with a very strong odor is also indicative of insufficient water intake
  • When too much water is lost from the body and not replaced, dehydration occurs. Progressive signs of dehydration include:
  • Thirst, fatigue, weakness, discomfort, loss of appetite, dry skin and mucous membranes
  • Impaired physical performance, dry mouth, reduction in urine, flushed skin, impatience, apathy
  • Difficulty concentrating, headache, irritability, sleepiness, impaired temperature regulation, increased respiratory rate
  • Dizziness, muscle spasms, loss of balance, delirium, exhaustion, collapse

Try your best to drink water every day! Your body will thank you!

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