The importance of water to the body

Two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen (H2O), that’s water. Next to air, water is the most essential to our survival and without it, we would die in a few days. It is also one of the important constituents of a balanced diet. Water as a vital nutrient has a diverse array of roles to offer, so having a planned out regimen guide for the regular intake of water is as important as a dietary scheduled regimen.

Water makes up more than two-thirds of human body weight. The human brain is made up of 95% water; blood is 82% and lungs 90%. As an important mechanic, the body cannot carry out and sustain its normal functions without water, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil.

If the body’s water supply drops to even a mere 2% it may trigger signs of dehydration. When we become dehydrated the body instinctively begins to ration water to each organ but the brain being the most important organ, gets the most water. The skin, being the least important, is rationed the least amount of water.

Functions of Water

1. Water as a universal solvent aids in digestion.

Digestion starts with saliva which is basically water. Digestion relies on enzymes found in saliva to break down all foods, vitamins, and minerals to be assimilated and utilized by the different cells and organs of the body. Water is also necessary to help digest soluble fiber which aids in bowel movement.

2. Water plays an important role in the transport of nutrient materials to the cells.

After the foods are broken down in the digestive system they become water-soluble, which means they can be mixed with water and dissolved in it. The dissolved nutrients can then pass through the capillaries within the intestinal walls. The blood flowing in these walls will in turn pick up these tiny particles of nutrients and distribute them to the different cells of the body through the circulatory system.The importance of water to the body

3. Water also helps in the removal of waste materials from the body.

Adequate water intake enables the body to excrete waste through urination, defecation, and perspiration. Water does not only help the kidneys and liver flush out waste but also the intestines. Drinking enough water will also keep you from getting constipated by softening your stool and facilitating the smooth movement of the food you’ve eaten through your intestinal tract.

4. Water prevents you from dehydration.

People who are active and engage in vigorous activities have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated especially during hot weather. It is highly recommended to drink water regularly during exercise, especially if it’s intense. We also get dehydrated when we come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea.

But we can prevent dehydration by drinking water regularly during the day and increasing fluid intake when suffering from fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.The importance of water to the body

5. Water helps regulate body temperature.

Our health and well-being are dependent on keeping our body temperature within a very narrow range and water serves this function well. Water has the capacity to regulate the internal temperature of the body in response to the outside temperature. When the outside temperature is very high, water prevents overheating through sweating.

When we sweat we release calories in the form of heat and this energy released decreases the internal temperature of the body thereby maintaining stable body temperature.The importance of water to the body

6. Water also plays a key role in the prevention of diseases.

Drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and can even potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

7. Water hydrates skin.

The skin, like any other part of the body, is also made up of water. If your skin is not getting a sufficient amount of water it will turn dry and flaky and is more prone to wrinkling.The importance of water to the body

How Much Water Does the Body Need?

The daily requirement for the human body is 2 to 2.5 liters of water. But the consumption of food items with enriched moisture leads to the intake of 1 liter of water so the remaining 1.5 liters are taken care of by drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily. However, it is important to note that factors such as individual weight, height, nature of the activity, and climatic variation should determine the specific need for water.

Not sure about your hydration level? Just take a look at your urine. You’re in good shape if it’s clear and probably dehydrated if dark.

20 thoughts on “The Importance of Water to the Body”

  1. Nice! Love this post about the importance of water to the body. I was actually looking for something when I landed on your site. I agree that drinking lots of water helps keep us healthy.

    I’m just wondering if you have heard about a special water bottle that allows you to monitor and track your water intake because of the feature on the back of the bottle. It’s a great gift idea as it will encourage your friends or family to increase to drink more water in order to stay healthy. There’s a motivational quote on the front of the bottle that will remind them how important it is to drink water and stay hydrated.

    1. Hello, thanks for dropping by. I haven’t heard about this special water bottle but I will definitely look into it. Yeah, I believe having a water bottle that will remind you the importance of drinking water is a great idea, thanks.

      Cheers to staying healthy by drinking lots and lots of water!

  2. Staying hydrated should be a huge priority for everyone. I admit to not consistently drinking enough until I had some kidney stones and started reading about how it should be a front and center health concern. 

    Drinking at least 8 tall glasses of water per day and getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night were my 2018 resolutions in fact. I love the fact you mention the tell tale color of pee is a litmus test. If you think you are drinking enough and it’s not at least clear-ish then you need to drink more water. 

    Amen to us all drinking more of it and just curious – have you always been good about drinking enough yourself?

    1. Aside from being the healthiest drink, water is very important for life sustenance. We can survive without solid food for a couple of months but we will die from dehydration within days.

      8-10 glasses (330 mL) is the ideal amount of water intake depending on your BMI and also on your gender and the amount of physical activity you engage in everyday; the more active you are, the more water is required.

      I always knew about the 8 glasses of water rule of thumb but I did not actually practice it until I was already working because the nature of my job required me to examine body fluids. And having to examine urine every single day made me aware of the normal color of urine in healthy individuals.

      I wish you the best in your 2018 resolution of drinking at least 8 glasses of water everyday and I hope it will become a habit and not just a goal that you need to accomplish.

      Cheers to a healthy lifestyle!

  3. Oh boy, I definitely don’t drink enough water. It’s really hard when you’re not thirsty at all. I’ve tried in the past, but it makes me feel so full, trying to get the recommended amount. I also didn’t know that water can reduce the risk of colon cancer and bladder cancer. Interesting read.

    1. You’re right Dave, it’s difficult to drink water when you’re not thirsty. What about setting time intervals for drinking one full glass, that 350 mL,of water? It always works for me.

      I drink 1 glass right after waking up in the morning (5:30 AM) 1 before breakfast 6:30 AM), 1 every two hours after that (9 & 11 AM), 1 right before lunch, 1 every two hours after and 1 or 2 about 4 hours before sleeping. Try it, I hope it works for you too.

      Avoiding the risk of colon and bladder cancer to me are strong motivations to drink enough water.

  4. This was a great read as I know I am probably not drinking nearly enough water as I should be. I find it fascinating that the brain is made up of 95% water. That in itself seems to be a good enough reason to stay hydrated! I might have to go make myself a fresh lemon water after reading this 🙂

    1. Hi Elsa,

      The brain having made up pf 95% water says a lot about how important it is to drink enough water because even a very minimal decrease in the water level in the brain will result in headache. Every activity that involves the use of the brain will cause the brain’s water level to decrease and that is why it is important to replenish it continually by drinking the necessary amount of water.

      So go for that lemon water drink, girl!

  5. Hello Alice,
    I have always made sure I have water with me at all times. It is quite an inconvenience when other people just don’t care and think it is strange. Nowadays people are starting to understand how important it is though so now it is popular to have a water bottle! I was ahead of the curve I guess!

    I always bring a water bottle to work every day and also keep a filter bottle at work as well so I can filter as much water as I may need. I refuse to drink the chlorine in city water so I always filter it.

    I know water is vital and important for so many functions in the body but I did not know drinking enough water can prevent cancer…your post here made me reach for my water bottle!

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Bringing your own water bottle to work is a great way to make sure you are drinking enough water everyday. I think this has become so popular these days as more and more people are now aware of the importance of water to the body and to our overall health. But of course there are still those who don’t care and think it’s strange that we love to drink water.

      Drinking enough water is great but making sure the water we’re drinking is safe is another thing. Thanks to water filters and mineral waters. Our tap water supply is also chlorinated that’s why we are ordering water from water refilling stations.

      Not many people are aware that drinking enough water does not only keep us hydrated but it also keeps us from certain diseases such as colon and bladder cancer. So let’s keep drinking lots of water to remain fit and healthy.

  6. Hi, Alice. This is an enlightening article. I know I must drink enough water to keep my body perform well. But practically I often forget to drink enough quantity. I become aware only after I see my urine color. One of my friends always brings two large bottles to be drunk during her working hours. That is her reminder to get enough water for her body.

    1. Hey Melani,

      Drinking enough water sounds like a very simple health advice which is easy to follow but because we live in a fast-paced society, we often neglect it. This is quite the problem with me, once I get tied up into something that I want done right away, I forget to eat; I forget how hungry I already am. But I never forget to drink a glass of water, i.e. 330 mL, every 2 waking hours. Why? Because I set my alarm to remind me when it’s time for a gulp.

      Bringing 2 large bottles to work is a perfect idea to make sure you get enough water everyday, kudos to your friend.

  7. Hi Alice,
    Very good learning here. Reading your article is like going back to learning science. Most of us know about the importance of water intake but all of us need to be reminded why and what it is good for.
    Not to forget that we need more than the normal 8-10 glasses of water on a hot day. Also, it depends on the what activities we have done for the day.

    1. Hey Sharon, isn’t it nice to be reminded once in a while of the things we already know but often ignore? 
      Most people do not realize the importance of drinking enough water, not just to maintain body hydration but most especially for disease prevention. 8-10 glasses or 1.5-2.5 liters per day and more during hot seasons and increased physical activities. Just a tip so we don’t forget, always keep your bottle of water with you. 

  8. Even though I knew it was important to drink enough water, I had no idea there were so many reasons as to why this was so important! I thought ti was more to do with hydration, I had no idea it could help prevent diseases and illnesses.

    I know I always feel worse when I don’t drink enough though so that in itself encourages me to drink more.

    1. Hi Louise. Most people are aware of the benefits of water for hydration but often disregard how water is also beneficial in preventing several diseases. Several scientific studies show that drinking more water prevents kidney stones, urinary tract infection, helps reduce fever and heart burn and helps treat coughs, cold, sore throats as well as respiratory infections. Knowing all these benefits of water to our body and our overall health should encourage us to drink enough water.

  9. Great and informative post! Water is my favorite beverage; it’s the most refreshing there is. Water is so powerful, it brings life to all living things. However, what’s saddening is that too much water can also bring danger especially to those with kidney malfunctions. I guess it’s still all about balance at the end of the day. Thanks for this!

    1. Water is definitely the healthiest and most refreshing drink. It’s the only drink that is sugar-free. It’s very important to drink enough water everyday to maintain the normal functions of the different organs in our body. But like what you said there are also cases where drinking too much water is not advisable. Thanks for your comment Lily.

  10. Some health advisors have been advocating that there is a proper time to drink water. Some advise not to drink water immediately after or during meals as this will deter digestion by diluting digestive enzymes or advise not to drink too much water immediately before going to bed. May be you can shed some more light according to your information search. Otherwise I see article very educative. It has shed some light to what I didn’t know.

    1. Hello George, thanks for dropping by! I was actually thinking of tackling this on my next post but since you raised the question, I might as well answer it briefly.

      You’re right, there is always a proper time to drink water in order to maximize its benefits as well as to avoid some negative effects. Such as in the case of drinking water during a meal or right after it to avoid indigestion. Health experts highly advise against this because they say that instead of the food being processed immediately in order for it to be properly utilized by the body, it will remain a little longer in the stomach causing us to experience bloating and reflux.

      Drinking excessive water before bedtime is also not advisable as it will definitely have us heading to the bathroom repeatedly over the course of our sleep preventing us to have that blissful sleep that we so long for after working hard during the day. I personally avoid water 1-2 hours before going to bed because once my sleep is interrupted it will be difficult for me to go back to sleep. 

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