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Why is it Important to Drink Water?

Updated on August 31, 2013
The Importance of Drinking Water
The Importance of Drinking Water | Source

Water and our Bodies

Without water we wouldn't be able to survive. We are born with around 75% of water in our bodies. As we get older the percentage decreases, with men carrying between 60 to 65% and women 50 to 60%.

It helps with body function, forming molecules, transporting oxygen to cells and regulating temperature.

Water has its importance in regards to our health and well being. It helps us to function physically and mentally as around 90% of our brain is water. Not having enough makes us dehydrated leading to headaches, fatigue or further health problems.

How do You Become Dehydrated?

In everyday living the average person loses about 3-4 litres of fluid each day. We lose it through sweat, passing urine, bowel movements and exhaling air.

We can lose 1-2 litres of water just from breathing alone.

More water can be lost each day from sweating as a result of exercise, hot weather or a hot room, temperature, altitude or diarrhea.

How do I Know I am Dehydrated?

There are many ways to spot whether you are dehydrated or not.

Feelings of tiredness, fatigue and decreased concentration can be signs you need more fluid. Other symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Dark urine and decreased output
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth

Precious Water
Precious Water
Healthy Options
Healthy Options

How Much Water do We Need?

Everyone is different, so the amount of we need to drink depends on the amount we have lost. The basic guideline suggests drinking 1.5 litres per day, taken steadily throughout the day. Having too much can dilute sodium levels which will deprive vital organs of the salt they need.This can have an effect on the heart, muscles and brain, resulting in problems with the way they function.

The symptoms of over hydrating are similar to those of being dehydrated so it is important to be aware of the amount we are consuming.

Ensuring we keep hydrated can be done in a number of ways.

Plain, clean and safe water is the best option, but other fluids incorporated in your daily intake all contribute.

These may be reduced sugar fruit cordials, herbal or fruit tea, hot water with sliced lemon, milk (of any variety), tea and coffee. Alcoholic beverages contain water but will leave you dehydrated.

Food which are liquid based or have high water content will top up on your fluids.Examples include:

  • Soup
  • Iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes
  • Watercress
  • Watermelon
  • Citrus fruits
  • Green vegetables
  • Peaches, plums, nectarines

All food contains water but some have higher water content than others.

Why Keeping Hydrated is Important

  • Your brain functions better, making you think clearer and more alert
  • It improves fatigue and tiredness
  • Decreases pain such as back pains and headaches
  • Reduces constipation
  • Aids digestion
  • Cuts down the risk of urinary tract infections
  • Minimizes kidney problems
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Improves metabolism
  • Flushes away toxins
  • Improves skin condition

Water and the Elderly

As we get older we may need to keep an eye on our fluid intake. Factors such as medication, changes in hormones or illness can make us dehydrated.

It is important to encourage the elderly to drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration. It can make them very tired, confused (especially if they contract a urine infection) and unwell.

If communication is difficult and they cannot tell you they are thirsty, look out for:

  • A dry mouth
  • Dry skin
  • Dark or smelly urine
  • Confusion (out of the ordinary)
  • Wanting to drink when it is offered

Always offer water and other drinks and leave jugs of fresh water within reach.

Poll

Do You Make the Effort to Drink Plenty of Fluid?

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Dehydration and Infants

Babies can be more sensitive to dehydration than adults so it is important to keep their fluid up.

Babies and young children may develop fever or illnesses such as colds which either lead them to dehydration, or be less willing to want to drink.

Vomiting and diarrhea also lead to dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration

  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on top of the head)
  • Drier nappies
  • Dark urine
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Clammy skin

Try to offer your baby sips of water or their usual milk regularly. Also give them a hydration drink to replace lost salts.

Keep them in a cool room to avoid overheating and seek medical advice. A doctor can do a urine test to check the balance of sodium and potassium in the body.

For anyone with severe dehydration, a saline drip or nasogastric tube can be inserted in hospital to get fluid in the body. It replaces lost nutrients quicker than if it is taken orally.

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    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 4 years ago from California

      Great article! Drinking water is certainly important and I need to work on it more. I have a friend who says that drinking water keeps her alert in the middle of the day when she feels like taking a nap if she skips drinking. It's amazing how easy it is to skip out and a few extra glasses of water. Thanks for the reminder!

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Excellent Hub. too many of us think that we should drink when we're thirsty. That could be the onset of dehydration. Voted up and useful.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 4 years ago from India

      It is vital that we all drink lots of water to stay hydrated throughout each day. I will try to have some six to seven glasses of water a day. Generally what you have to do is to keep you out from the feel of thirst by drinking water regularly. Voted up and shared!

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Great Hub. Water is my favorite drink....

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Robert - water is great for keeping us alert and awake. Sometimes feeling tired in the day makes us want to nap or grab a sugary snack, but keeping hydrated may be the answer.

      rfmoran - thanks for the vote! It's true that we should avoid becoming thirsty.

      dinkan53 - when I'm at work I fill a litre bottle up with water or weak cordial and drink one or two of them throughout the day. I work long shifts on my feet, so I get headaches if I get dehydrated.

      jainismus - you are lucky to enjoy water. Some people find it boring, but we need it!

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      After reading your hub I figured out that I need to drink more water instead of only drinking iced tea! Maybe my migranes and dry skin will disappear. Thanks for writing this!!

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Jill - have you tried drinking iced rooibos tea? (I wrote a hub about rooibos). If you like iced tea, that's a nice way to keep hydrated without caffeine.

      I hope you manage to keep hydrated anyway, and your skin and migranes clear.

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      My problem is our local iced tea called Guers. It is only distributed in our area and it is quite addicting! It causes many drinkers to develop kidney stones that luckily I have never experienced....knock on wood. I tried to switch brands a long time ago and found myself actually withdrawling from the tea. I started to drink it again after a few days and never tried to stop again.

      I will definately check out your other hub though, thanks!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

      I'm definitely guilty of not drinking enough water. I have pretty much all of the symptoms of dehydration! I'm terrible about drinking water. I think I'm going to have to try the fruit and veggies route. It would be great if I could eliminate migraines! Great hub Emma. -K

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      krsharp05 - Any way to get the right fluid is good enough. I don't always fancy water, so go with flavoured tea, cordial and juicy fruits!

      Jill - I've never heard of that tea. Sounds good, but bad! Don't you just hate that?? Good luck!

    • shrenitha profile image

      shrenitha 4 years ago from India

      nice article emma :)

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you shrenitha!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 years ago from london

      Necessary article and a good reminder. Explained well.

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks for reading and giving a comment manatita44 :)

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

      Yes, my urine is dark yellow.. a sign that I need to hydrate myself. Thanks for the hub, Emma. Know I now that I should need more water intake. :)

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Sometimes we just need a bit of a reminder, idigwebsites. It's easy to go a few hours when we are busy without having much to drink.

      I try to carry a bottle of water or something to make sure I drink in the day.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      I keep a closed container with a straw by my computer. It's become habit to sip every time I'm searching or reading. I get plenty of water that way.

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      That's a really good idea watergeek. I should do that when I'm writing - then I can drink water while I am concentrating!

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 4 years ago from Europe

      I really need to drink more water. Sometimes its the evening when i take my first glass.

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      It can be difficult when we're busy - I've been guilty of it too. Then we feel tired and get headaches. It's good to be reminded! Thanks for coming by.

    • CarNoobz profile image

      CarNoobz 4 years ago from USA

      I really need to get back to that. I used to drink a huge glass of water 1st thing in the morning to hydrate, but lately I've been skipping it and just drinking my coffee, soda, and energy drinks all day.

      I'm feeling it...BLAH.

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi CarNoobz - I guess when the weather is colder we want hot drinks and more energy. I am better in the summer - but I try and swap my coffee for fruit teas and hot water and lemon. Hope you manage to get back on track!

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