Why is drinking water important?

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Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day.

Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water, and around 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by water.

Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of water that means drinking enough each day is not at the top of many people’s lists of priorities.

Fast facts on drinking water

  • Adult humans are 60 percent water, and our blood is 90 percent water.
  • There is no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed daily.
  • Water is essential for the kidneys to function.
  • When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.
  • Drinking water instead of soda can help with weight loss.
  • In a CDC questionnaire, 7 percent of respondents reported drinking no water at all daily.

 

Benefits

Woman drinking water.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that men achieve a daily fluid intake of around 3 liters and that women take in 2.2 liters.

To function properly, all the cells and organs of the body need water.

It is also needed to:

  • lubricate the joints
  • form saliva
  • deliver oxygen throughout the body
  • cushion the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues
  • regulate body temperature
  • produce hormones and neurotransmitters
  • help food pass through the intestines
  • flush body waste

Some of the water required by the body is obtained through foods with a high water content, such as soups, tomatoes, oranges, but most come through drinking water and other beverages.

During everyday functioning, water is lost by the body, and this needs to be replaced. We notice that we lose water through activities such as sweating and urination, but water is lost even when breathing.

Drinking water, whether from the tap or a bottle, is the best source of fluid for the body.

Milk and juices are also good sources of fluid, but beverages containing alcohol and caffeine, such as soft drinks, coffee, and beer, are not ideal because they often contain empty calories. Drinking water instead of soda can help with weight loss.

It was previously thought that caffeinated beverages had diuretic properties, meaning that they cause the body to release water. However, studies show that fluid loss because of caffeinated drinks is minimal.

 

Recommended intake

The amount of water needed each day varies from person to person, depending on how active they are, how much they sweat, and so on.

There is no universally agreed amount of water that must be consumed daily, but there is general agreement on what a healthy amount is.

According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average recommended daily intake of water from both food and drink is:

This would be around 15.5 cups for men and just over 11 cups for women. However, around 80 percent of this should come from drinks, including water, and the rest will be from food.

This means that:

  • Men should drink around 100 ounces, or 12.5 cups of fluid
  • Women should drink around 73 ounces, or just over 9 cups

Many people will have heard the phrase, “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.”

This is a little less than the National Academies’ recommendation for women, but “8 by 8” is an easy-to-remember amount that can put people on the right track. Remember, all non-alcoholic fluid counts towards this recommendation.

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