Water is a vital nutrient for our survival. The human body holds approximately 60% water. The amount of water in the body and needed by the body varies depending on age, gender, diet and lifestyle.
Where is all this water stored?
Brain and Heart 73%
Muscles and Kidneys 79%
Additionally, plasma (what makes blood a fluid) is about 90% water. Plasma helps transport blood cells, nutrients and hormones throughout the body. The water is stored in intracellular fluids (inside cells) or extracellular cellular fluids (outside cells). 2/3 of the total fluid in the body is found with in the cells. Minerals such as magnesium and sodium helps to maintain this balance.
How is water used by our body?
1. Forms saliva and mucus
- Water is the dominant component of saliva and mucus. Saliva helps to bind and the food and start the digestion process. Saliva also keeps the eyes, nose and moist preventing damage.
2. Deliver oxygen throughout the body
- Plasma in blood is 90% water and carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
3. Lubricate joints
- Cartilage around joints and the spine acts as a shock absorber. These are about 80% water. Dehydration lessens its function causing joint pain.
4. Provides cushioning for the brain, spinal cord and soft tissues
- It provides support for the brain, spinal cord and even babies when they are in the womb. Even a 25 dehydration can negatively affect cognitive abilities, fatigue, short term memory and motor coordination impairment. Water also helps create hormones and neurotransmitters.
5. Improves digestion
- Contrary to popular belief, drinking water before, during and after eating aids in easier digestion and transportation of food and nutrients. When nutrients and minerals are dissolved in water, it is more efficiently transported.
6. Flush body waste
- Removes toxins from the body through sweat, urine and aid in easier bowel movements
7. Great for skin and beauty
8. Keeps the skin supple, slow down skin ageing and gives a healthy glow
9. Regulates body temperature
- When the body heats up, water from the middle layers of the skin comes out as sweat. When it evaporates, it helps cold down the body
10. Prevent chronic diseases
- Regulates blood pressure: Blood gets thicker with dehydration making it harder to flow with in the vessels leading to increasing blood pressure.
- Prevent kidney damage: Help remove waste from the blood and is eliminated as urine. When you are dehydrated, this system does not work efficiently and can create kidney stons/cysts. Severe dehydration leads to kidney damage
Water intoxication (Hyponatraemia)
Although water is essential, drinking too much of it can also be an issue and lead to hyponatraemia. In this condition, blood sodium levels are diluted to dangerous levels. Sodium is needed to contract muscles and send nerve signals. With too much water, Kidneys work harder to eliminate excess fluid but is never able to meet the demand.
*for water to reach toxic levels. Many litres must be had in a short amount of time.
The recommended fluid intake according to Healthdirect Australia varies with age, your individual metabolism, diet and lifestyle. 1/5th of the water our body needs is gained from food and the rest from drinking fluids. It is especially important for children and older people to drink enough
Babies 0.7L to 0.8L of fluid rom breast milk or formula
Toddlers 1.5L to 2L
You can get water from any fluids though water is really the best
Drinking waters helps the body rid itself of excess sodium which reduces fluid retention. Fluid is retained in the body when there is too little water in the cells. When the body is receiving fresh water regularly, there is no need for the body to retain the water.
- Carry a bottle of water with you so you can hydrate where ever, when ever
- Keep track of your intake so you know how much
- Pace yourself. Aim to finish half your daily intake by midday. During the day is when your body is most active in its functions. Follow the natural rhythm of the day, slowing down with night fall.
You can calculate body water weight with online calculators