Water - Why do we really need it?
H2O – Water – Why do we really need it?
Why We Need to Drink Water
The human body is estimated to be about 60 to 70% water. Blood is mostly water, and muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Our bodies need water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. Water also transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs.
Dehydration in our bodies will result in any of the above bodily functions not processing properly and if not rectified, can cause major health issues. Water is lost from our bodies through urination, respiration, and sweating. Very active people lose more water than others. Things such as caffeine, medication and alcohol, result in the need to drink more water, as they trick the body into thinking it has more water than it needs.
Symptoms of mild dehydration can include chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. A strong odour to your urine, along with a dark yellow or amber colour, indicates that you may not be getting enough water. Certain vitamins can make your urine bright yellow, such as certain B Vitamins, but certainly the first sign of dehydration will be thirst! Although, you need water long before you feel thirsty.
How Much Water do we need to drink?
(use this conversion - 1 fluid ounces is approx. 30ml)
A good estimate is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. That will give you the approximate number of ounces of water per day that you should to drink. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. Exercise increases your need for water and for every 20 minutes of exercise you do you will need another eight ounce glass of water. When drinking alcohol you should drink at least an equal amount of water.
When you are traveling on an airplane, it is good to drink eight ounces of water for every hour you are on board the plane. If you live in an arid climate, you should add another two servings per day. As you can see, your daily need for water can quickly add up!
At least 20% of the water we need will come from the foods we eat. The rest will come from the beverages we drink. Water is obviously the best choice! Sweetened soft drinks and fizzy drinks have added sugar that adds extra calories. Sports drinks contain electrolytes and may be beneficial but still look out for added sugar and calories that you may not want. Fruit and vegetable juices are good because they have vitamins and nutrients, but still be sure to read labels, as vegetable juices may be high in sodium.
Caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee count too, but too much caffeine, as we all know, but may not want to admit, is not good either!
So how can you make sure you drink enough water?
On a busy day it may be difficult to drink enough water, but try. Be sure you have water handy at all times, keep a bottle for water with you when you are working, travelling, or exercising. If you get bored with plain water, add a bit of lemon or lime for a touch of flavour. There are some brands of flavored water available, but again watch for extra calories.
Water is an important part of everyday life! Enjoy it!