You know you’re supposed to drink a lot of water to keep your body functioning properly – but do you ever wonder why is water so important and what it actually does?
Did you know that water makes up between 50-60% of your body mass? It is contained in our cells and is attached to molecules like protein and carbohydrates. Women’s body mass is made up of 40-50% water; 50-60% for men and 50-55% for the elderly.
To make up that much body mass you would think it is very important, so why do so many people not get enough?
Let’s look at what it does for us.
Water is intricately involved in numerous functions that help our bodies do what they’re supposed to do.
Seven Functions of Water Include:
- Regulating body temperature: Water acts as a coolant when your body heats up, such as when you’re exercising, when you have a fever and when you’re exposed to hot temperatures.
- Good stuff in, bad stuff out: Water is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to our cells, and also removes cell waste products, like carbon dioxide. It also transports minerals throughout your cells, including calcium, magnesium, fluoride, potassium, sodium and chloride.
- Lubrication: Like oil applied to a rusty hinge, water lubricates your joints and protects your spinal cord. It’s a major ingredient in the bodily fluids that you need for your joints and for your digestive track to function properly; you even need it when you breathe.
- Cleansing: By drinking water, waste products are flushed out through your kidneys and liver.
- Creates Energy: Have you ever felt like you have increased energy after you drink a glass of water? That’s no coincidence – water serves as the medium for all energy reactions in the body.
- Cushions organs and tissues: Your joints contain sacs that are almost entirely filled with water. This prevents the colliding of the two ends of the joints, which would cause pain. Degenerative disk syndrome occurs when those disks lose this cushioning. It is extremely painful and can also cause pinched nerves, and will restrict your ability to move normally.
- Promotes digestion: Because water lubricates your mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, it helps promote proper digestion and helps prevent constipation.
When you don’t consume enough water, dehydration can result, and that can cause a variety of short- and long-term problems.
Symptoms of Dehydration Include:
- Dry Skin
- Weakness and/or fatigue
- Increased body temperature
- Muscle cramping
- Bad breathe
- Darker-coloured urine
- Dry mucous membranes (the mouth, nose and/or eyes)
Dehydration can also result in muscle damage and affect your kidney function.
There are some other key facts that you may not know about water and its benefits. Making sure you get enough helps you in so many ways that you may not realize.
Facts and Benefits:
- If you exercise, the higher metabolism created requires more water to regulate temperature and remove waste build-up.
- From childhood to adulthood, the body is growing and changing and therefore, the required amounts of water change.
- A good estimate of your daily water requirement is half of your body weight in pounds. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume approximately 75 ounces of water each day.
- You don’t have to limit it to ‘plain’ glasses of water – you can get your water intake from tea, juice, milk (dairy and non-dairy versions), and water that is contained in solid foods (such as cucumbers and celery).
- Dehydration can be detected by a loss of elasticity in the skin. A good test is to pinch your skin – if the fold returns to its original shape quite slowly, it’s an indicator of dehydration.
- Even a 2 %loss of body weight caused by dehydration will cause you to have performance issues and slower reaction times.
- A 2% loss of water also reduces your cognitive performance. Ever wonder why you just can’t concentrate?
- The most important factor that influences the formation of kidney stones is decreased fluid intake.
- Is has been clearly established that decreased water consumption is associated with cancers of the bladder and the lower urinary tract.