Why Water is an Essential Part of Your Health
The human body relies on water to maintain the many functions that continuously occur. In fact, around 60 percent of the human body’s weight consists of water. Every minute of life involves the ongoing regulation and maintenance of cells, tissues, and organs. If fluid levels in the body deplete, these important functions may not occur as they should. As a person breathes, digests food, and perspires, water levels go down. Thus, it’s important to replenish these fluid levels by eating foods that contain water and by drinking fluids. Adequate water consumption should enable you to maintain fluid levels, which comprise about 60 percent of your body.
Water has protective properties in the body. Internal tissues must remain moist. Hydration levels in the body ensure that tissues such as sinuses and eyes stay soft and moist. In addition, blood, bones, and organs also rely on adequate hydration. Without proper fluid levels in the body, sensitive joints might not have the lubrication and cushioning they need.
- Mineralized water may help with overall hydration levels and the body’s pH levels.
- The brain’s composition is about 80 percent water, so the brain requires adequate hydration to maintain function.
- An individual’s body composition depends on the amount of body fat the person has.
- The blood contains 83 percent water, and muscles contain about 75 percent water.
- Drinking water maintains and energizes muscles.
- You can live longer without food consumption than you can without water consumption.
- Not drinking enough water could cause your body to retain fluid, which contributes to bloating.
- Water helps keep the skin moisturized and supple, which can improve its appearance.
Waste removal is an integral part of keeping the body healthy. If the body does not eliminate waste, this bacteria could build to unhealthy levels. The body excretes waste through breathing, perspiration, urination, and defecation. Fluids enable the intestines, liver, and kidneys to flush waste products from the body. Fluids also help with digestion to ensure that food moves through the intestines effectively.
- Cell function results in metabolic waste products. Adequate hydration ensures that the body is able to eliminate these waste products.
- After the body takes all of the nutrients it needs from foods, the kidneys and urinary system separates the chemicals the body needs to keep from the waste the body needs to excrete.
- The body must maintain a healthy balance, which involves eliminating waste products through the lungs, skin, lymph nodes, spleen, and kidneys.
- Drinking adequate amounts of fluid helps regulate the body temperature to keep it from rising.
When food enters the mouth, digestion begins. Saliva present in the mouth is comprised of a large percentage of water. Enzymes present in saliva begin the digestion process immediately, breaking down foods to access nutrients needed by the body. Fluids help the body digest and dissolve soluble fiber, which the body needs for good bowel health.
- Fruits and vegetables contain fluids, which increases fluid intake.
- About one-third of the fluids ingested throughout the day come from food.
- Choosing water instead of sugary beverages may help with weight loss due to the consumption of fewer calories.
- Increasing water consumption may result in up to 205 fewer calories consumed and up to 235 milligrams less of sodium consumed.
- The small intestine absorbs fluid during digestion. In all, the small intestine absorbs and processes up to nine liters of fluid every day.
- Water is an important ingredient in digestion because it helps break down proteins, carbohydrates, and acids.
- Insoluble fiber in foods such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds attracts water to the intestines. This helps regulate the softness of waste products.
Sometimes the body can lose so much water that it becomes dehydrated. Dehydration can occur after excessive perspiration during hot weather or as a result of strenuous exercise. An illness that involves a high fever, vomiting, or diarrhea can also cause dehydration. To prevent or treat dehydration, drink enough water to restore the body’s necessary hydration level. Some illnesses, such as bladder infections or urinary tract stones, may necessitate increasing fluid intake.
- Symptoms of dehydration include headache and fatigue.
- Loss of 2 percent of body weight in fluids could cause negative results such as reduced physical performance.
- During times of excessive perspiration, drink fluids about every 20 minutes to prevent dehydration.
- Severe dehydration that is not treated could result in permanent brain damage, seizures, and even death.
- The body perspires to maintain proper body temperature. Humid weather conditions may inhibit effective perspiration, which can lead to heat illness. Heat illness symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness, elevated pulse, and low blood pressure.
- Prolonged illness can lead to dehydration, especially in children. Watch for signs of dehydration such as sunken eyes, reduced elasticity in skin, and a dry mouth.
Determining the amount of water you need to drink is an individual process. Most people can meet their unique hydration needs by drinking water to satisfy thirst. This standard response to thirst is usually sufficient for people who are in good physical health. People should also drink a beverage with every meal, which can aid in digestion. To check hydration levels, check urine color. Adequate hydration will result in clear urine. Dark urine could indicate dehydration, which would necessitate an increase in fluid consumption.
- The amount of water each person needs depends on the amount of food eaten, the type of weather outdoors, and activity level.
- Drinking eight glasses of water each day is a generalization. People may need more or less than this amount.
- Your weight and the amount of physical activity you perform in a day are two factors that determine how much water you should drink.
- Some medications may increase the need for extra fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Drink water throughout the day to satisfy thirst and keep the body hydrated.
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