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!