Water is an essential nutrient to life. It is the body’s principal component and contributes to about 60% of an adult’s body weight. Since water makes up around three-quarters of the weight of lean tissue and less than one-quarter of the weight of fat, a person’s body composition influences how much of their body’s weight is water.
You can survive only a few days without water, whereas a deficiency of other nutrients can take weeks, months and even years to develop.
In the body, water becomes the fluid in which all life process occurs. It assists with transporting nutrients and waste products throughout the body, participates in metabolic reactions, acts as a solvent, serves as a shock absorber, and aids in the regulation of body temperature.
Drinking plenty of water may protect the bladder against cancer by diluting the urine and reducing its holding time. Studies also have shown that adequate water intake may also protect against kidney stones, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
The types of water you drink can also affect your health. Water is usually found either hard or soft. Hard water has a high content of calcium and magnesium, whereas soft water primer minerals are sodium and potassium. As such, soft water is not the best option for individuals with hypertension and heart disease as it can aggravate due to its sodium contents.
How much water should I drink?
There are lots of mixed messages about how much water to drink.
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. The amount of fluid lost depends on the environment and physical conditions, but on average, daily losses total about 2 ½ litres. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
The amount of water each person needs depends on many factors including diet, activity, environmental temperature, and humidity. In the past, recommendations were based in proportion to the amount of energy expended under average environmental conditions. For instance, someone who expended 2000 Kcal would be advised to drink about 2 to 3 litres of water.
Although a general water requirement is difficult to establish precisely, today the European recommendations suggest 1.6 litres of fluid per day for women (about 8 glasses of 200ml) and 2.0 litres of fluid per day for men (about 10 glasses of 200ml). This is on top of the water provided by food you eat. You might be surprised to find that most fruits and vegetables contain up to 90 percent water.
It is very important to consume enough fluid to stay hydrated and healthy. When you don’t drink enough water you may feel tired, get headaches and not perform at your best.
Your body has a special mechanism to make sure you stay hydrated. Feeling thirsty is the first sign of dehydration, the signal that the body has already lost some of its fluid. However, the easiest way to spot that you might not be getting enough water is to check if your urine is a dark yellow colour during the day. If you are urinating infrequently or passing very small amounts of urine, then is more than likely you need to drink more fluid.