Did you know water is a nutrient, much like vitamins, minerals, and proteins? It is. Although it doesn’t provide any energy, it participates in different functions that are vital for life.
What is water good for?
Water is the key component of all animal and plant species. Approximately 55 to 75% of the human body is made up of water. Below are some of our body functions that depend on water:
- It is the key element of every cell, organ, and building function of the body.
- It allows nutrients, as well as different active substances, enzymes, and hormones, to be taken to every part of our body.
- It helps take metabolic waste to the excretion organs.
- It helps regulate the body’s temperature.
- It protects the body’s organs and tissues.
How much water should you drink a day?
You should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Approximately 2/3 of the liquid we drink comes from water or other beverages and 1/3 comes from water contained in foods. We get dehydrated if we don’t drink enough water. Babies and children are the most prone to dehydration. Be very careful if they have diarrhea or vomiting. Make sure you give them enough water or other oral rehydration fluids.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. When a person feels thirsty, he/she has already lost 16 ounces or more of total body fluids. It’s very important to drink liquids, such as milk, juice, or soup, throughout the entire day. At least half of the fluids we drink should be water and the other half can be other liquids. Coffee, black tea, and alcohol are not good water substitutes because they are diuretics and favor water loss.
How much liquid do we lose when we sweat and exercise?
We lose water every day through urine and sweat, especially when it’s hot or when we exercise. Our body’s temperature rises and our body sweats to cool down. Drink water regularly when doing intense physical activity. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Drink 4 glasses of water per hour on average. Sports drinks tend to replace lost fluids and provide calories, plus some contain potassium and sodium to replace the minerals lost with sweat. These minerals are also found in fruit juice, and sodium is particularly important because it lets you know you need water by making you feel thirsty.
Tips for drinking more water
Now that you understand the importance of drinking water, use these tips to increase your water intake:
- Drink one glass of water per each cup of coffee.
- Drink water before and during meals.
- Drink 1 to 2 glasses of liquid with your meals. This does not interfere with digestion.
- Drink enough water before, during, and after you do exercise.
- Drink fruit juice or ice tea instead of soda.
- Recycled air at the office and on airplanes dries out your skin. Carry a water bottle with you.
Water is life. Drink it every time you can and your body will appreciate it!
*Nutritionist of the MyDiet™ Team
© 2016 HolaDoctor