We all need water to live. Humans can survive a month without food but only a week without water. Why is water so important?
Every cell from the simplest to the most complex one is made up mostly of water. Exactly how much water you are made up of depends on your age. Babies’ bodies contain about 78% water. This is reduced to about 65% for the average one-year-old. Men’s bodies contain more water than women’s bodies (60% compared to 55%). Our brains, the most important organ, are composed of 70% -80% water, our blood more than 80% and our lungs and liver about 90%. Even our bones contain 13%- 20% water.
Since the human body is made primarily of water, it is essential that we consume enough fluids on a daily basis to avoid dehydration. Plenty of water is essential to keep our bodies functioning optimally. Children need about 1,5 litres of water per day while adults need between two and three litres a day (quantity is dependent on environmental conditions, level of activity and body weight).
The Importance of Water to Human Health
We take in most of our water by drinking but most solid foods also contain water. The unique properties of water are what make it so vital to life. One of the most important things about water is that it helps us to digest food. The excellent ability of water to dissolve many substances allows our cells to assimilate nutrients, minerals and chemicals during continual biological processes. Water also facilitates other critical functions such as oxygen transport, filtration of blood through the kidneys and being involved with the removal of carbon dioxide and waste products.
Water also plays a major role in body temperature regulation; a low water intake impairs the body’s ability to prevent overheating. Water is continually passing through our bodies. The average human body loses about 1,6 litres of water a day through urine (1,2 litres); breath and sweat (0,2 litres) and faeces (0,2 litres)- more if ambient temperatures are hot and if physical exertion takes place. When more water is lost than is consumed, our bodies become dehydrated resulting in water rationing to each of our organs. The priority is to keep the brain functioning so more water is rationed to the brain than other less important organs such as the skin.
Source: The Water Wheel January/February 2010 Volume 9 No. 1
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