Water: A health beneficent

Water is a common word to all but not all knows the benefits of water. Lets gets a piece of information about WATER.

Water is your body’s principal chemical component. Every system in your body depends on water. It is essential for the human body to function. The body cannot store water and must have fresh supplies every day to perform virtually every metabolic process. Babies and the elderly are vulnerable to lack of water or dehydration. Not drinking enough water increases the risk of kidney stones and, in women, urinary tract infections.The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones.
As the body can’t store water, we need fresh supplies every day to make up for losses from the lungs, skin, urine and faeces (poo). The amount we need depends on our body size, metabolism, the weather, the food we eat and our activity levels.

IMPORTANCE OF WATER
The importance of water cannot be over emphasized Let’s mention only but a few:

  1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids.
    Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. “Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves,” says Guest, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University.When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, Guest says, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol. “Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration,” he says.
  2. Water serves as a lubricant
    Water serves as a lubricant in digestion and almost all other body processes. The water in our saliva helps facilitate chewing and swallowing, ensuring that food will slide easily down the oesophagus. Water also lubricates our joints and cartilages and allows them to (pardon the pun) move more fluidly. When dehydrated, the body rations water away from the joints. Less lubrication equals greater friction and that can cause joint, knee and back pain potentially leading to injuries and arthritis. Even our eyeballs need plenty of lubrication to work well and remain healthy.
  3. Water regulates body temperature
    Our bodies can control over-heating through perspiration from sweat glands in the skin and from evaporation which produces a cooling effect. Blood is also routed into areas close to the surface of the skin where it can be cooled and then carried back to the interior of the body. Conversing in a cold environment, the skin maintains proper body temperature by shunting the blood away from the exterior surface thereby conserving heat within the body. The movement of water within our cellular systems also transports vital blood plasma which is 92% made of water. Blood plasma play a critical role in buffering the body’s pH, circulating antibodies from the immune system, and regulating osmotic balance which all helps to maintain proper body temperature.
  4. Water transports valuable nutrients to the body
    Blood is about 92% water and it carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Nutrients from the food we eat are broken down in the digestive system where they become water-soluble, which means they are dissolved in water. Water allows these nutrients to pass through the capillaries within the intestinal walls to the blood and circulatory system where the valuable nutrients and oxygen can be distributed throughout the body to all the cells and organs. In addition to the daily maintenance of our bodies, water also plays a key role in the prevention of disease. Drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  5. Water Helps Your Kidneys.
    Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Guest. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” he says. When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.
  6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function.
    Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation. “Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Koelemay.

How much water do you need?

This is a simple question that does not have a definite answer. Your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

What about the advice to drink eight glasses a day?
Everyone has heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Although the “8 by 8” rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: “Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” because all fluids count toward the daily total.

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