The Importance of Drinking Water
Discuss in detail the importance of water to the body
Water is of vital importance to the body, which can survive but a few days without it.
Although amounts vary between different weight individuals, the average adult’s body is made up of approximately 50 - 60% water which equates to roughly 80 pints in a 150 lb weight male. Male bodies generally have more water content than females as do leaner persons in comparison to obese.
The importance of water can be illustrated by the high content contained in many parts of the body. For example blood, which is composed of around 92% water and also kept liquid by it, muscle and the brain around 75% and even bone contains around 22% water.
Water is involved in almost every process that occurs within the body. Every cell within the body relies on the nutrients delivered to them via water for their health and integrity and water also plays an important part in the elimination of toxic substances from the body, such as excess electrolytes and urea, via the kidneys in the form of urine.
Water also acts as a lubricant and moisturiser to the body. Joints and internal organs are lubricated and cushioned by water in the body and the eyes and mucous membranes of the lungs and mouth are kept moist by water. During pregnancy, the foetus is protected by water that surrounds it.
Water plays a part in regulating body temperature through sweating and the digestive system relies on water for the process of converting food into energy and tissue.
Other roles for water within the digestive process include softening, diluting and liquefying food to facilitate digestion, helping food travel along the gastrointestinal tract and the differences in the fluid concentration on either side of the intestinal wall enhance the absorption process.
Considering water plays such a vital role in so many processes within the body, it may be surprising that the body has no means for storing it.
Water is lost from the body through the kidneys, skin, lungs and gastrointestinal tract at approximately 1.5 litres per day, but this amount can increase considerably in hot weather and when exercise is undertaken. It is therefore very important to replace lost water throughout the day. Water can be replenished through drinking and eating, especially foods such as fruit and vegetables which consist of around 90% water in a highly usable form.
Our bodies notify us through the sensation of thirst when our body water content is low and our blood starts to become too concentrated. However, when we feel thirsty, our bodies are already in need of water and therefore we should replenish our water levels before the sensation of thirst arrives.
It is especially important for the elderly to keep hydrated as their thirst sensation may be diminished as they get older.