We’re going to start with water, because keeping the body hydrated is one of the major requirements of maintaining a healthy body. It is a well-known fact that our body weight is approximately 60% water. Even the cells, which are the most basic unit of the human body, require water in order to function optimally. It can be said that the primary function of water in the body is regulating body temperature through sweating.
It is also through this process that we lose large amounts of water, thus the need for constant rehydration. We also lose water during breathing in the form of vapor especially in cold conditions and during digestion as it is used to carry waste out of the body.
The water requirements of a person might differ from another depending on a number of factors. These are:
· The individual’s level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more water you lose through sweating.
· Climate is also a factor. People who live in hotter climates tend to lose more water through sweating.
· Health of the body. When the body gets infected, it raises its body temperature so that the pathogens causing the infection die due to the excessive heat. However the body still needs to regulate this temperature and more often than not, fever is accompanied by excessive sweating. Therefore, sick people need to hydrate more to compensate for this loss of water.
As you have seen, water is important in ensuring that our bodily functions operate within an optimal temperature. However, water has other useful purposes other than keeping our bodies from overheating. To list briefly, the main uses of water in the body are:
1. Regulating the temperature.
The body uses water to cool off by releasing it through sweat pores found under the skin. The water absorbs all the heat from the body then evaporates, cooling it in the process.
Water helps to keep the body hydrated in a number of ways. The blood plasma for example, is 92% water. Hydrating regularly helps keep the blood concentration in check. Furthermore, water is essential in major organs such as the brain, the spinal cord and in the joints, where it serves as a lubricant to prevent wearing out of the joints.
3. Waste removal.
As mentioned earlier, water is essential in digestion, where it helps in the removal of waste from the body. Organs such as the kidney and the liver rely on water in the removal of harmful wastes from the body as it acts as a neutral carrier for waste material. Moreover, in the intestinal tract, water is added to solid wastes in order to soften them, making them easier to expel from the body.
In digestion, most of the enzymes used in the breaking down of food substance are either water based or require water as a medium. In addition, it helps the movement of food substances through the alimentary canal.
How much water should you drink per day?
The most commonly recommended amounts of water to be consumed in a day is eight glasses. It might not sound very practical, however the human thirst mechanism is weak, and you may not feel thirsty often enough to stay properly hydrated, or the body can often mistake thirst for hunger. Drink water half an hour before meals to prevent this. A good indicator of proper hydration is that your urine will be clear.
A well-hydrated body will function smoothly and prevent unnecessary illnesses.