Human body constitutes of 75% of water and hence it is deemed to be a vital component for the human body. The wonders of water to the human body are manifold. It is the main carrier of nutrients and oxygen to all the body parts. It is a de-toxifier and helps in regulating body temperature. It also acts as a lubricant for joints and protects the organs of our body by helping to absorb the nutrients in a better way. Hence, it is significant to include water as part of the daily diet. Water deficit in the body causes headaches, slows down the functioning of vital organs such as brain, digestive system, kidney and results in scaly skin. Some of the warning signs to show that your body needs more water are thirst, fatigue, urine in dark yellow or orange in color.
The water requirement for an individual differs from person to person since not all of us have the same type of body condition. Various factors contribute for water intake. Age, climate, gender, body weight, altitude of the place where you live, time spent on physical activities etc., are some of the things which influence consumption of water in a person.
Normally, doctors advise to consume at least 1.8 liters (average of 8-12 medium sized cups) of fluids per day. Again, this varies, for a male and a female. On an average, women need 2.2 liters and men need 3 liters of water per day. Water is the main source of any fluid, such as, fruit juice, milk, beverages, veggie juices, soft drinks etc. As long as you drink enough fluid so that it does not make you thirsty and pass clear urine (or pale yellow), your fluid intake is seemingly sufficient for your body.
Increasing water intake
1. Physical activity
Your body requires more water if you engage in a physical activity that makes you perspire. It is advisable to have those extra cups of water before you hit the gym. Long distance runners and athletes require extra fluids in the body to endure the physical activity for a long time. It is also suggested to replace the lost fluids with sports drink that have sodium to balance the sodium lost in sweat.
2. Health conditions
Certain health conditions may arise when you will lose body fluids such as vomiting, diarrhea and fever. It is essential that you replenish the lost fluids with more water. You should stay hydrated when you are sick, to ensure proper functioning of the system. However, there are other health problems which impair the excretion of water. Heart, kidney, liver and other adrenal ailments are some of the diseases that require to limit the water intake. You should strictly follow your doctor’s recommendation in such cases.
3. Food and drinks
There are fibrous foods that have high fiber and thus need additional water to process them. You should take few more cups of water to avoid constipation. Beverages which have caffeine are diuretics and will make your body lose lot of water through urination. You should have additional water intake to prevent dehydration.
Your body sweats substantially and loses water fluids through body heat. Hence, water intake should be increased if you are living in hot weather conditions. If you are exposed to heated indoor air in winter, your body gets dehydrated. Also, for people living in high altitudes, the frequency of urination is more and hence requires more water.
There are number of easy ways to stay hydrated.
- Carry a bottle of water everywhere you go and keep sipping this healthy drink throughout the day. Make it tastier by adding few slices of lime into it.
- There are fruits and vegetables which are water rich and make good sources of water. Watermelon, tomatoes, oranges, cucumbers, squash and carrots are some of them which contain nearly eighty percent of water.
- You can also indulge in fresh fruit juices, soups and smoothies to remain hydrated.
Contrary to dehydration is hyper-hydration, where there the body is bloated with over consumption of water. Like any other substance, overuse of water is dangerous to health. When people consume lots of water after an intense work out or any such physical activity, electrolytes in the body are not replenished properly. This leads to imbalance of electrolytes causing disturbance in the functioning of the brain.
In summary, water is an essential constituent of our body and should be consumed in right