Alright, not the most exciting title, I know. But I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the most important substance on the planet that we all know and hopefully love, water.
Most of you probably know that the human body is made mostly of water, roughly 60%. This of course makes water the primary component of the body and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is incredibly important (Gropper & Smith 455). We use water for literally everything in the body. Just to name a few functions, it’s involved in converting the food you eat into energy that you can use, and is the primary component of all bodily fluids like blood, urine, and tears.
It is common knowledge that it is important to stay hydrated, but in terms of how much water we should drink every day, the recommendations are all over the map when you’re looking at the wrong sources. The actual recommended amount of water intake is about 125 oz/day for men aged 19 and older, and about 91 ounces a day for women aged 19 and older, with increased need for women who are pregnant or lactating (DRI National Academy of Sciences).
These intakes, though, don’t take into account many factors that affect most people during the day. Namely, water intake should vary depending upon physical activity level, temperature, and diet composition, as well as other factors. Within reason, when it comes to water, the more the better. That doesn’t mean that you should ever chug a gallon of water, but having a water bottle with you at all times during the day isn’t a bad idea!
More than 90% of water available in the body comes from direct consumption with a very small amount made as a byproduct of reactions in the body. In terms of how the body gets rid of water, a major route is through the urine and sweat, but we also lose water in the feces as well as though indispensable water loss, which is water loss that we can’t feel or aren’t consciously aware of (Gropper & Smith 455). With the ease at which water leaves the body, I want to stress again how important it is to stay hydrated; it’s all too easy to go through the day and simply forget to drink water. It can be tough to commit to hydration but it is incredibly important.
One pretty cool thing about water, is that when we’re adequately hydrated, we feel and look our best. I don’t have specific references or scientific research to cite here (although it’s around), but I think that most of us can attest to the impact that hydration has on our energy levels, mood, and overall feelings during the day. One example of this involves headaches. A huge percentage of headaches that people experience every day are simply a result of dehydration. Think about that groggy 2:30 feeling that often comes with a headache. Often times by this point in the day we’ve been hard at work for awhile, and have perhaps not had a glass of water in a few hours. Well guess what, that headache is most likely your dehydrated brain asking for some water! So before you pop a pill to kill the headache, try having a few glasses of water instead.
Here’s a challenge: Try replacing one of your beverages each day with a big glass of water. Do something your body will thank you for; we’ve only got one.
You can’t have health without hydration!
Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Groff, J. L. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.