Water is needed by every part of the human
body, from our seemingly dry bones through to our heart, lungs, and brain.
According to H.H. Mitchell from the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the lungs
are composed of 83 percent water, the muscles and kidneys are 79 percent water,
the brain and heart are 73 percent water, the skin contains 64 percent water,
and even the bones are 31 percent water. Every single system in the body is
reliant on water, from digestion and respiration through to lubrication, cell
building, and waste management.
Dietary guidelines around the world often
don't recommend a specific measurement of water consumption, with the amount
people need dependent on age, sex, weight, temperature, and physical activity.
The most famous guide comes from a 1945 recommendation for the Food and
Nutrition Board of the United States National Research Council, which stated
"A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily in most
instances." While we are often told to drink ten or eight glasses of water
a day in order to meet this objective, the recommendation also said that
"most of this quantity is in prepared foods," including beverages
such as juice and tea.
Because our body can't store water, we need
fresh supplies every day to make up for natural losses from the lungs, skin,
and waste systems. While it's important to listen to your body and drink when you're
feeling thirsty, it's even more important to drink regularly throughout the day
to avoid feeling thirsty and getting dehydrated. Common signs of dehydration
include dry lips and mouth, dark coloured urine, fatigue, flushed skin, and
dizziness. According to Anna Debenham, accredited practising dietitian, "Severe
dehydration can result in: low blood pressure with a rapid heartbeat, fever,
lack of energy, delirium, unconsciousness, severe diarrhoea and/or vomiting,
and inability to keep fluids down."
Even though it doesn't makes sense to
recommend an exact quantity of water for everyone, as a general rule women are
advised to drink 2.1 litres per day and men advised to drink 2.6 litres. It's
also important to drink more water during and after exercise and in hot weather
conditions. Certain demographics of people need to drink more water than
others, with babies, kids, and pregnant women often needing more water than the
general population. Having a water bottle with you at all times is the best way
to keep up your fluid intake, with fruits, veggies, yoghurts, and soups also a
great way to keep your body wet. While coffee, tea, and alcoholic drinks can
help to increase your water intake, these drinks can also lead to dehydration
when consumed in excess.
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