Without food a person can survive more than a month, but without water only from 3 to 7 days. No wonder that it is called the "source of life". Unfortunately, we often forget about it or do not attach importance to the recommendations concerning the necessity of its constant supplementation.
Although water is not a source of energy, it is considered a food product and one of the most important components of our daily diet.
Water is present in all cells of our body, and its content varies from 45 to 75 percent of the body weight and decreases with age. The body of the fetus consists of about 90 percent water, about 70 percent water in the newborn, and about 65 percent in a 2-year-old child. The body of an adult has about 60 percent water, while in the elderly it is only about 45 percent.
What is the role of water in our body?
Water is essential for the proper course of all life processes:
- In the cardiovascular and lymphatic system, it transports nutrients and compounds produced by cells between organs and tissues;
- is a carrier and heat regulator, absorbs excess heat and expels it through the skin;
- The company participates in the excretion of metabolic products;
- has a moisturizing function, e.g. on eyeballs and joints, reducing friction and protecting them from damage;
- provides the environment for all biochemical processes taking place in the cells.
How much water should we drink and why so much?
It is assumed that the amount of water necessary for the proper functioning of the body in temperate climates, which has to be supplied daily from the outside, is on average 2800 ml, which makes up for the permanent losses associated with its excretion. Few people know that only in the form of water vapour through the lungs we excrete as much as 550 ml of water vapour a day, and another 600 ml by sweating. In case of fever, these losses increase additionally by 50-75 ml for each degree of temperature above the standard.
Since the food we eat also provides us with water, the consumption of beverages should be between 1.5 and 2 litres per day, which is particularly important for people with cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and kidney diseases and those taking medication.
More scientifically, it is assumed that a person should drink 1 ml of water per 1 kcal of food ingested or 30 ml per 1 kg of body weight. Of course, the body's fluid requirements vary depending on the degree of physical activity, humidity and air temperature. As physical activity and ambient temperature increase, it is necessary to increase its consumption.
It is assumed that the minimum water requirement is 1 litre per day, lower water intake may lead to pathological changes in the body.
Loss of water constituting 5% of the body weight leads to a general weakening of the body, more than 10% causes severe dehydration, and loss of water constituting 15%-20 % of the body weight (1/3-1/4 of the body water) leads to death.
Drinks - reasonableness required
Most of the time we drink to satisfy our thirst, i.e. quickly, without analysing the calorific value and composition of the drink, and if it is water - without looking at the mineral content. Because what to think about here? We want to drink, but fluid does not count in the overall balance of our daily diet. And yet.... Just like any food product, it can cause us many health problems. So choose with your head, above all avoiding caloric sweetened drinks, with various artificial additives, e.g. dyes.
Try to partially replace coffee with herbal infusions and teas. Recommended are mint, nettle, horsetail, camomile, wild rose, thistle or infusion from the usual parsley containing a lot of iron and vitamin C. Let's also drink vegetable juices - if not prepared at home, at least the one-day juices on sale and unsweetened fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed.
The range of beverages available on the market is very wide, so the decision to choose the most appropriate one for us, reconciling health effects with the preferred taste, should not cause any problems. However, it is always worth to look at the information on the label, especially when the product is not well known to us. So let us hydrate ourselves wisely:
- Let's drink unsweetened drinks, preferably water matched to our needs in terms of mineral content;
- Let's make sure that our body receives the right amount of water every day;
- Drink water at room temperature in small portions (half a glass each) throughout the day;
- Let us not allow a feeling of great thirst to appear;
- When going on a trip, always have a bottle with the right water at hand;
- On hot days, drink more than usual, even if you do not feel thirsty;
- In hot weather let's limit the drinking of diuretic coffee.