Water Watch Do We NEED Water?

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Part 1

by

Katrina Welch

Yes, absolutely! We need water in order to live. Generally, it is believed that without this precious liquid humans cannot survive for more than three days. That’s just 72 hours, and depending on the prevailing environmental factors and/or health conditions, the length of time for which a person can live without water may be even shorter.

An adequate amount of water is recommended for daily consumption; this is known as the 8×8 rule which suggests that we should drink at least eight ounces of water eight times a day in order to stay well hydrated.

You might think to yourself that is a difficult and practically unattainable goal, but the average body weight is approximately 60 per cent water. Much of that water is used all throughout the body for numerous functions. So, let’s take a closer look at how water is used in our bodies as a reminder of the importance of staying well hydrated daily.

Body temperature is regulated.

On a hot day being spent outdoors, nothing is more satisfying than a nice cool thirstquenching glass of water. On these days our bodies lose water even faster and as we drink water, it works as a thermoregulator to manage our body temperature. Perspiration cools down our bodies because as the sweat evaporates from the surface of our skin, heat is removed from the body.

Moisture is provided.

Nobody enjoys the feeling of a dry mouth or dry eyes. Water provides the moisture which alleviates this uncomfortable feeling. All throughout your body, within your bloodstream, your brain and even your bones, water is needed to provide the moisture required to ensure the optimum function of your tissues, joints and spinal cord.

Brain function is enriched.

Approximately 75 per cent of your brain comprises water. When your body is lacking water, it not only affects your energy levels, but other basic cognitive functions are impaired such as your attention span and shortterm memory. Dehydration can also cause what is known as “brain fog” so staying hydrated counteracts these problems and keeps your mind sharp.

Cardiovascular system is enhanced.

The plasma within your blood is approximately 90 per cent water. Therefore, if your body does not contain enough water, your blood thickens and this may be the cause of an electrolyte imbalance as well. When your blood becomes more concentrated, its ability to flow is more difficult and this increases your blood pressure as greater effort is needed to move the blood around the body. This lowers your blood volume and can result in dizziness.

• Dehydration is prevented.

As we’ve seen, water is used in numerous body functions and this process can be accelerated under

different circumstances. For example, you sweat more when you exercise and are physically active; when you have a fever your body temperature is a lot higher and in greater need of cooling; and when you experience vomiting and diarrhoea the body uses up more water. Consequently, water is needed to keep the body hydrated in all of these circumstances.

Diet is improved.

This may sound peculiar, but in a study which was published in 2016 in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, it was found that participants who drank more water, consumed fewer calories as well as less cholesterol, sugar, saturated fats and sodium. This may occur because as you fill up on water, your cravings and hunger levels are reduced and this in turn reduces your food intake.

Digestion is made easier.

Chewing our food is a part of how we break it down to aid in the overall process of digestion, but water plays a major role in this process as well. As the food is being digested, water dissolves it in order to allow the body to absorb the nutrients which are then transported to various cells in the body. Both the small and large intestines absorb water during digestion and it is used by the latter to formulate faeces. Dehydration slows down these processes.

Waste is removed.

The link between water and the production of urine might seem quite obvious to most, but the role of water in waste removal goes beyond that. As this liquid flows through our bodies it carries waste away from our cells and helps the kidneys as they remove waste from the blood stream. Facilitating defecation is another key part of water’s role, so if you’re constipated, you might need some more water in your diet.

An adequate amount of water is recommended for daily consumption; this is known as the 8×8 rule which suggests that we should drink at least eight ounces of water eight times a day in order to stay well

hydrated.

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