The Importance of Drinking Water

Did you know that water comprises about 60% of our body weight?  And did you know that almost every system in our body requires water?  It’s true!

Filling in glass of water

Nine functions that water performs in our body (a partial list):

  1. maintains fluid balance
  2. important for nerve impulses
  3. transports nutrients and  oxygen to our cells
  4. helps with muscle contraction
  5. aids digestion and waste removal
  6. maintains body temperature
  7. helps dissolve nutrients and minerals so our body can use them
  8. lubricates our joints
  9. keeps body tissues moist, such as our mouth, ears and nose

Six positive benefits of drinking enough water:

  1. Replacement of natural water loss that happens through breathing, sweating, normal evaporation through the skin, urination and elimination.
  2. Helps to keep our muscles energized (dehydration can cause muscle fatigue)
  3. Helps to keep our skin looking great (dehydration can cause the skin to look excessively dry and wrinkly)
  4. Helps our kidneys get rid of toxins through urine
  5. Helps our bowels maintain good elimination, especially when our diet contains enough healthy fiber (dehydration can cause constipation)
  6. Can help our body lose excess weight: drinking water in place of unhealthy beverages that are full of sugar or chemical sweeteners will help keep our blood sugar balanced and significantly reduce our sugar and/or chemical sweetener intake.

How much water is enough?  There is no one right answer because there are a number of variables, and we are all unique.  According to the Mayo Clinic there are four main variables:

  1. How much exercise you are doing, including the type and the duration of exercise (basically more exercise = more sweating and loss of water)
  2. What kind of climate you live in, and what altitude (hot and humid climates  = more sweating and loss of water)
  3. Your health status – some health issues may cause the body to require more water, other health issues may require a reduction in water intake.
  4. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding will require more water to stay hydrated

Total daily water intake can be derived from eating foods that are high in water content (such as fruits like watermelon or vegetables) as well as drinking water. That being said, there is a general recommendation about total daily beverage intake from The Institute of Medicine:

  • For men: about 3 litres or 13 cups per day
  • For women: about 2.2 litres or 9 cups per day

Drinking a glass of room temperature water every morning upon rising is a very good way to get your digestive system going.  Squeezing some fresh lemon into the water would be an extra healthy boost for the digestive system.

It is very important to drink enough water or eat high water content foods to avoid dehydration, which will zap our energy and interfere with normal body functions. Dehydration occurs when our body’s loss of water exceeds our intake of water. Remember that strenuous exercise, extremely hot weather, high altitude, and a decreased sense of thirst are all factors in whether or not we are becoming dehydrated.

Are you wondering which foods have the highest water content?

 

Informational Resources:

The Mayo Clinic – Functions of Water in the Body

The Mayo Clinic – Water 

WebMD.com – 6 Reasons to Drink Water

 

Copyright © 2013 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved