“Water, Water everywhere….”
Water is calorie free, is amazing when its chilled (granted not quite as good as a nice chilled white wine, but much better for you!) and is vital for your body.
Why do we need water?
Water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, and is also known as H2O. Water is the most essential element to our survival apart from the air we breathe. An average person can live for upto 40-45 days without food, but without water can only live between 3-5 days. Water makes up between 50-60% of our body’s weight. Women tend to have more adipose tissue than men, so a man will have a higher water percentage than a woman.
Our blood is made up of 92% water, our brain and muscles are both 75% water and our bones are 22% water.
The human body cannot store water, so we have to have fresh supplies of water everyday to make up for the losses from lungs, skin, urine and faeces. The amount we need depends on our metabolism, the weather, the food we eat and our activity levels.
A car cannot run without petrol, and the human body cannot run without water.
What roles does water play within the body?
Water is the major ingredient of all fluids within the body, including saliva, gastric juice, bile, pancreatic juices and intestinal secretions. Water is vital for almost every bodily function.
Water is vital in removing toxins from the body, the body has four major ways of removing toxins, they are the bowels, urination, perspiration and processing of toxins by the liver. The bowels, urination and perspiration directly excrete water from the body. When the body is dehydrated, it will try to save work by minimising the use of the bowels, urination and perspiration, and will force the liver to taken as much of the workload as possible. The extra work will place a burden on the liver, which still has other functions to carry out apart from detoxification. The liver will not be able to do all the work itself to an efficient level and toxins will build up rapidly.
Water carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, whilst also getting rid of toxins. It also helps to keep the cells well hydrated so they can function efficiently and properly. Approximately 60% of the bodys total water content is found in the cells.
Water is also vital in the digestion of solid foods and absorbing the nutrients into the body. The solid food is broken down by the enzymes and acids in the stomach and turns fluid like. The fluid then travels easily down through the intestines. The water helps with this process as well as it can help prevent heartburn, constipation and allow the digestion to remain constant.
Water also helps the body with homeostasis, which is the body’s way of regulating its temperature. Water helps to cool the body when it is hot or overheated and stores extra heat when it gets cold.
Water also has a key role in joint protection. Each joint in the body has a natural protection. The water helps to cushion the areas between the bones. When the body is deprived of water and becomes dehydrated, the protection will lapse and arthritis may occur. Water also provides protection for a number of other parts of the body including: the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It protects the spinal cord form damage or shock and protects the foetus during pregnancy via the amniotic sack.
Water also aids in keeping body tissues like the eyes, lungs and air passages moist so they function properly and smoothly.
Other roles of water include:
- maintaining the health and integrity of every cell within the body
- keeping the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels
- reducing the risk of cystitis by keeping the bladder clear of bacteria
- working as a moisturiser to improve the skins appearance and texture
What happens when we get dehydrated?
The feeling of thirst comes when the blood becomes concentrated. If you have the thirsty feeling you may already be dehydrated. It can be rectified quickly by drinking water. It is vital to listen to your body and not to ignore the feelings of thirst. Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. Dehydration can be serious. Symptoms include, dry mouth, dry eyes, vomiting, nausea, muscle cramps and heart palpitations.
How much water do we need to drink?
The average body loses around 1.5 litres of water a day through skin, gut and lungs and via the kidneys as urine. This process also rids the body of toxic substances. The body also makes a third of a litre a day through glucose, when it is burnt as energy. The minimum intake of water a day needs to be around 1-1.5 litres to ensure the body is getting the same amount in as is going out. An ideal intake would be between 1.5-2 litres per day.
Water is excreted from the kidneys as urine and also carries waste materials from the cells. On average between 4-6 cups of urine a day are excreted.
What is the best way to increase water intake?
Good fluids to drink include fresh water, herbal and fruit teas (caffeine free), you could also flavour your water with some fresh lemon/lime or try one of the Fruit Infusion drinking bottles .(https://www.tesco.com/direct/vonshef-2-pack-water-bottle-with-fruit-infuser-set/249-0769.prd)
Try and limit fizzy drinks and caffeinated drinks like coke, tea and coffee as they can have a diuretic effect.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are also a good source as some contain up to 90% water, and they are easy for your body to digest. They also provide your body with vitamins and minerals.
So what are you waiting for!? Get drinking that water today!