Our body is predominantly made of water. For example, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, the lungs are said to be made of 83% water, our skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys 79% water and bones about 31% water. The overall water content of the body is said to be 60%. (3)
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. Water gets rid of wastes, keeps your temperature normal, assists in metabolizing and transporting carbohydrates and proteins and may even have an effect on chronic diseases.
In short, your body depends on water to survive.
How much water do you need?
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
You’ve probably heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s easy to remember, and it’s a reasonable goal.
Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than eight glasses a day might be enough. But other people might need more.(1)
You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors:(1)
- Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout.
- Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
- Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water when having these symptoms
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women’s Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.
You don’t need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100 percent water by weight.
In addition, beverages such as milk, juice and herbal teas are composed mostly of water. Even caffeinated drinks — such as coffee and soda — can contribute to your daily water intake. But water is your best bet because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.(2)
Lack of water can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions.
Water and Chronic Disease
Researchers continue to study the effects of dehydration vs adequate water consumption on chronic disease. Many of us are dehydrated without knowing it. Many health professionals suggest that degenerative disease can be prevented and treated by increasing water intake on a regular basis.
For example, drinking enough water is crucial for healthy digestion. Additional applications of adequate water intake include elimination of heartburn (a sign of water shortage in the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract), treating arthritis, (dehydration in the joints) and back pain caused by lack of water needed to cushion the spinal column and discs that support the weight of the body. Heart disease, migraine headache caused by dehydration of the brain and eyes and colitis caused by water shortage in the large intestine – all improve with adequate water intake. It is also an effective remedy for hypertension and high cholesterol.(3)
Replenishing the body with a fresh supply of water daily is essential for good health. Water is Mother Nature’s simplest purifier designed to keep the body functioning at its peak. When you are thirsty, make pure water a #1 choice.