The human body can last weeks without eating food, but only days without drinking water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine, and perspiration, and is contained in lean muscle, fat, and bones.
Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day. Around 60 % of the body is made up of water, and around 71 % of the planet’s surface is covered by water.
Water Lubricates the Joints
Water is the main lubricant in the joints and spine. Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80% water. Drinking enough water daily can help remove the accumulation of acid waste in the joints, such as uric acid, which can cause inflammation and pain.
Water also provides the necessary cushioning in the spinal discs. Keeping the body well hydrated on a daily basis can help prevent back pain and joint pain, including various forms of arthritis.
After years of chronic dehydration, the chemistry of the body may erode bone as part of its response to not enough water.
Water Forms Saliva and Mucus
Our saliva is 99% water. As saliva circulates in the mouth cavity it picks up food debris, bacterial cells, and white blood cells. Production of saliva is estimated at 1500 ml per day. Saliva contributes to the digestion of food and to the maintenance of oral hygiene. Without normal salivary function, the frequency of dental caries, gum disease, and other oral problems increases significantly.
Mouth soreness is very common in people with reduced saliva and food (especially dry food) sticks to the inside of the mouth. Dry mouth or ‘xerostomia’ is a condition that affects the flow of saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. Saliva coats the oral mucosa mechanically protecting it from trauma during eating, swallowing, and speaking. Saliva keeps your mouth moist, and it helps to break down your food and helps you to swallow. It also acts as a cleanser, neutralizing plaque acids. It is constantly washing around your mouth and teeth, fighting tooth decay, and helping to keep your teeth clean.
Having less saliva can also affect the taste of food and makes it harder to eat drier foods. Sometimes it can affect your speech and it makes people more likely to have bad breath.
Water Delivers Oxygen Throughout the Body
Plasma (the liquid portion of blood) is about 90 % water. Plasma helps carry blood cells, nutrients, and hormones throughout the body. Blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
Dehydration occurs when water intake is insufficient to replace free water lost due to normal physiologic processes (like sweating, urination, etc).
Hyponatremia is low sodium concentration in the blood. Usually, the Sodium and water concentrations in blood are regulated independently. Hyponatremia can be caused by the intake of too much water, which reduces sodium concentration. Drinking water serves to dilute your body’s sodium levels. Sodium – better known as salt – serves to raise blood pressure and it promotes fluid retention in the body’s tissues. High sodium levels result in high blood pressure. When you drink water, you dilute the body’s sodium levels, which serve to lower blood pressure.
Water Boosts Skin Beauty
Drinking water can be good to promote skin and beauty. The better circulation in the body, then the better skin we will have. Hence, it is a must to drink plenty of water to ensure that you have a healthy and beautiful skin as well. Drinking water is beneficial to remove toxins in the body. With this benefit, it is good to promote the skin health. It will help to cleanse the skin from spots and pathogens as well.
Water repairs the skin condition and makes the skin becomes softer and smoother as well. Moreover, with good circulation, then water can be helpful to prevent the building of acne on the skin. Water will help you to hydrate the skin. This is such a great benefit for those who have very dry skin.
By drinking plenty of water regularly, you will have such healthy and glowing skin. Drinking water will provide a benefit to prevent the signs of earlier aging. It will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Moreover, drinking water can hydrate the skin and improve the skin’s elasticity. Drinking the water regularly makes your nails stronger.
Proper Hydration Positively Impacts your Productivity
Water is one of the key elements responsible for human life on earth and is vital for our survival. The human brain is composed of 95% water, lungs are 90%, muscles are 76%, and the bones are 22% water.
Water cushions the sensitive tissues. Proper hydration works to promote good mental health, which has a positive impact on overall cognitive function. Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.
Water regulates body temperature. As it evaporates, it cools the body. When there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain. Drinking a lot of water may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise.
Water and the Digestive System
The cornerstone for the functioning of the entire body is the digestive system, and water plays an important part in correct digestion. The stomach needs water to produce hydrochloric acid. Water is needed for producing the mucous stomach lining. Without this mucous lining, the hydrochloric acid comes into direct contact with the stomach tissue resulting in stomach ulcers.
The bowel needs water to work properly. It makes minerals and nutrients accessible. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
Other Functions of Water
Drinking water may also help with weight loss if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. Preloading with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.
Drinking water helps dissolve minerals and nutrients, making them more accessible to the body. Drinking water is essential for the kidneys to function. If the kidneys do not function properly, waste products and excess fluid can build up inside the body. Untreated, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body. Drinking plenty of water is a simple way to reduce the risk of developing UTIs and to help treat an existing UTI.
Kidney stones interfere with how the kidneys work. The leading cause of kidney stones is a lack of water.
Recommended Fluid Intake
To function properly, all the cells and organs of the body need water. As the body can’t store water, we need fresh supplies every day to make up for losses from the lungs, skin, urine, and feces.
The amount we need depends on our body size, metabolism, the weather, the food we eat, and our activity levels. There is no fixed amount of water that must be consumed daily, but there is general agreement on what a healthy fluid intake is. The average recommended daily intake of water from both food and drink is around 3.7 liters for men and around 2.7 liters for women. However, around 80 % of this should come from drinks, including water, and the rest will be from food.
Times when it is most important to drink plenty of water, include: when you have a fever when the weather is hot, if you have diarrhoea and vomiting, when you sweat a lot, for example, due to physical activity, with a high-protein diet, to help the kidneys process the extra protein and with a high-fiber diet to help prevent constipation.
Freshwater is the best drink because it does not contain energy and is best for hydrating the body. Water from the tap is also mostly free and generally available wherever you go. However, milk is about 90 % water and is an important fluid, especially for children. Just remember to choose full-fat milk for children under two years old and low-fat and reduced-fat varieties for everyone else.
Commercially bottled mineral water contains salt, which can lead to fluid retention and swelling, and even increased blood pressure in susceptible people. Limit the amount of mineral water or choose low-sodium varieties (less than 30 mg sodium per 100 ml).
Beverages containing caffeine, such as soft drinks, coffee, and beer is not ideal because they often contain empty calories. Drinking water instead of soda can help with weight loss.
Some of the water required by the body is obtained through foods with high water content, such as soups, tomatoes, oranges, but most come through drinking water and other beverages.
By Dr Magdy Badran , Consultant Ped Immunology