Water is the source of life

Adequate water is important as water as loss daily with urine, breath and sweat.

Water is a part of a body’s main constituent, such as blood lymph and body’s secretions are all related to water. However, majority of people don’t have a habit of drinking water or that they only drink a small amount of water when they fell thirsty. This actually will lead to the body with insufficient water which can cause conditions such as headache, tiredness, dry skin of muscle twitching etc. even mind dehydration may affect the body’s physical and mental condition, severe dehydration can be life threatening.

Function of water in the body

In infancy, water composes most of the body’s weight – 75-85%. But the water ratio will increase with age and decrease as fat content increases. A healthy adult consist of 45-70% of water as part of their body weight. The functions of water, includes the maintenance of the normal concentration of body fluids, lubrication of joints, regulate body temperature, keeping the skin moist, aid food digestion and absorption, and allows for transport of nutrients to cells and removal and excretion of waste products of metabolism. Each process requires the participation of water.

Hydration and loss of water

Adequate water is important as water is loss dally with urine, breath and sweat. According to the Institute of Medicine, recommended intakes for water for males are 13 cups of fluids daily and females9 cups of fluids daily. The most direct method to add water to the body is to drink water. In addition to drinking water, other beverages including soups, milk and juice can also supplement the body with water but pay attention to avoid choosing sugary drinks to reduce the risk of obesity. In addition, a lot of people like to drink tea and coffee, they do not replenish water in our body similar to alcohol, they have a diuretic effect and increases water loss. In fact, to add water to our body is not limited to beverages. Food also contains water, especially fruits and vegetables, including lettuce, celery cucumber and watermelon contain more than 90% of water. Eating more fruits and vegetables are a good way to replenish fluid.

Those who need to replenish water

In fact how fluid you need depends on the amount of a person’s activities, local weather and health status. For example, athletes ingest more water than the average person because of high activity levels and moisture loss. Hot and humid water make people sweat more easily, so during the summer it is important to drink lots of water. Health status, such as fever, diarrhea, constipation or vomiting, the body increases the demand for water. Similarity, people with cystitis, stones and gout need to drink plenty or water. Water can wash away the infection of bacteria in the body, stones and uric can be easily discharged. In addition to females who are breastfeeding also need to increase their water intake, lactating females are recommended to drink 13 cups of fluid daily.

Although drinking water appears to be simple, but not a lot of people achieve the basic recommended amount of 8 glasses of water daily, it is important to encourage people to develop the habit of drinking more water and eat more fruits and vegetables to avoid any illness in the long term.

330 Tips provided by:  Ms Grace Lam  (Senior Dietitian - Centre for Nutritional Studies, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK)

Date: 2013-02-01