Your body is made up of about 70% water, which means that it is one of the single most important elements that keeps you alive. Every part of your body depends on the hydrogen and oxygen molecules that are contained within water – it’s something you simply cannot live without. We must take it in continuously throughout that day as we lose about 260 milliliters, or about a cup of water daily with from just the simple act of breathing. Your body can live weeks without food but only days without water…. so why is this such an important component of health?
The reasons are many but here are just a few:
- Transportation of nutrients in your body that are contained in your blood plasma
- Helps to carry around your cells, such as white blood cells (which are important for immune function), your red blood cells (which is how oxygen is carried in your body), and your platelets, which help your blood to clot and keeps you from bleeding.
- Helps to cushion your joints
- Keeps your temperature controlled and keeps you from overheating
- Keeps your kidneys working to remove toxins from your blood stream by filtering
- Helps to digest food
- Helps to absorb vitamins from your intestinal tract
So if water is this important how much water do you actually need?
The old fashioned rule of thumb is still eight 9-ounce glasses of plain water daily is the minimum required for maximum cellular function. Your need to stay hydrated will definitely increase in various situations, like when you have a fever or when you’re ill with vomiting or diarrhea. It’s easy to forget that you’ll need more water when it’s hot outside or when you’ve finished a longer workout. If you find yourself fatigued in the morning, try a big glass of cold water to stimulate your metabolism and to get your body hydrated before you work out. You may notice that you had a better workout and more endurance.
Are there beverages I should avoid if I’m trying to stay hydrated?
In general, beverages like alcohol, coffee, tea or soda containing caffeine should be avoided as they tend to cause fluid loss from your body. Juices tend to be hydrating but can contain sugar and can be high in calories, so if you’re trying to lose weight then it’s best to avoid them and just stick to whole fruits instead as you will tend to consume less calories that way.
The bottom line is that water is essential… much like air, sunshine and sleep. So do your best to stay in balance and put being well hydrated at the top of your list for good health.
Until next time, here’s to the best of your health
Elizabeth Salada MD
Internal Medicine and Wellness