Water is the basis of life; without it nothing can survive or grow. The purity of the water we drink influences our health and can either help lead us into health or into disease. Glands and organs are nourished by good quality water, without it they cannot function effectively.
Our bodies are made up of approximately 70% water which is thickened by proteins. Children have a higher water content than adults and the distribution of water is also different between adults and children, with adults having 2/3 of their water within cells and 1/3 in spaces in between cells. It is the reverse in children. Water plays a fundamental role in our body and acts as a medium for other substances to be dissolved in, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, glucose and proteins. Water also acts as carrier. Water will transport nutrients, hormones, enzymes around the body and remove waste from cells.
10 Functions Water Performs In The Body
- Water effects your blood volumes and when dehydrated reduces the amount of blood pumping round. This increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Low levels of water also means blood holds on to sodium for longer.
- The lungs are made up of 85% water. The water is used to absorb oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.
- Water is used to produce reproductive system to produce egg follicles and ensure a good blood supply to the womb. Water is also needed for many other reproductive processes.
- Kidneys to flush excess substances and toxins away – small amounts of water every half an hour. The kidneys can only filter 2 litres of water an hour. More than this can lead to a hyponatraemic state which can result in death.
- The digestive tract recycles around 6 litres of water a day leaving the remaining 2 litres to be supplemented by daily intake. Water is absorbed into the small intestines and helps you to absorbs nutrients, the rate of which is determined by how quickly your stomach empties. This is highlighted by the effect of alcohol on an empty stomach.
- Dehydration can lead to constipation.
- Helps maintain body temperature, through sweating and evaporation. Our bodies take time to adjust to climate. Trips to hotter climate should include small and often water intake. Children have a large surface area compared to body mass and risk dehydration more easily.
- The brain is around 70% water. Memory loss, reduced alertness and concentration are also linked to dehydration.
- Water plays an important role in the structure of the body as it gives shape to cells, provides a shock absorber for organs and supports body structure.
- Water acts as a lubricating fluid to ensure that organs which are in close proximity glide over each other without sticking.
Fluid intake will vary depending on a different factors, for example climate, exercise, gender, age, illness, diuretic foods and beverages (salt, caffeine etc). Interestingly there is no scientifically proven quantity of water that we should drink, despite the commonly recommended 8 glasses or 2 litres of water being touted about. One indication that most clinicians agree on, is that your urine should be lightly coloured not dark. Consistently clear urine might in some cases, be a cause for concern.
Sources of Water
Pure water contained within fruits and vegetables has a natural balance of minerals and salts and is the most nourishing for us. A high intake of organic fruit and vegetables will increase pure water consumption.
Good sources of water
- Fruits and vegetables
- Glass bottled spring water.
- Herbal Teas
- Hot water and lemon.
- Reverse osmosis water with minerals added back in.
Poorer sources of water
- Tap water – despite going through a purification process, it still contains antibiotics, hormones, and many other things. Chlorinated water reacts with bacteria to form a substance which is highly toxic to the body.
- Carbonated drinks
- Supermarket fruit juices and to some extent vegetable juices/smoothies etc
- Caffeinated drinks
- Alcoholic drinks
- Depending on your view milky drinks.