February 23, 2022

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Water makes up more than two-thirds of the weight of the human body. Without water, humans would die in a few days. All the cells and organs need water to function.

Water serves as a lubricant. It makes up saliva and the fluids surrounding the joints. Water regulates the body temperature through perspiration. It also helps prevent and relieve constipation by moving food through the intestines.
You get some of the water in your body through the foods you eat. Some of the water is made during the process of metabolism.
You also get water through liquid foods and beverages, such as soup, milk, tea, coffee, soda, drinking water, and juices. Alcohol is not a source of water because it is a diuretic. It causes the body to release water.

If you do not get enough water each day, the body fluids will be out of balance, causing dehydration. When dehydration is severe, it can be life threatening.

Water helps our body:

  • Keep a normal temperature
  • Lubricate and cushion joints
  • Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements

Your body needs more water when you are:

  • In hot climates
  • More physically active
  • Running a fever
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting

Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. You can get some fluids through the foods that you eat – especially foods with high water content, such as many fruits and vegetables.

  • It hydrates the body. This is one of the primary benefits of drinking water, and the reason why our body compels us to drink regularly. The human body is dependent on water to process almost all of its daily functions. In fact, a human being can survive longer without food than without water. Since our body is composed of about 55-60% water, it also helps maintain the balance of body fluids and related functions. These include creation of saliva, the process of blood circulation, maintaining body temperature and the absorption and transportation of nutrients throughout the body.
  • Regularly consuming water help you avoid constipation, it also greatly aids the process of digestion thereby improving your bowel health.
    Apart from this, your kidneys need adequate water to effectively transport the body’s waste through urination. Apart from expelling food waste, the body also needs water to generate sweat and regulate the body’s temperature.
  • Drinking water has a direct impact on your metabolism and results in your body immediately experiencing a spike in energy levels due to water’s ability to improve fluid circulation in the body, thereby ensuring that all cells and muscles retain their ideal electrolyte levels. Also, it is more likely that someone experiencing feelings of tiredness or sluggishness is in fact, dehydrated. One can avoid reaching that stage of dehydration by making sure we are always drinking ample amounts of water.
  • Regular water intake can maintain a healthy weight. Replace high-calorie beverages such as cold drinks and milkshakes with a simple glass of water.
  • It makes you look and feel good. Water is known to hydrate every organ in the body. Regular water drinking keeps the skin fresh and hydrated and helps fight against the signs of aging.
  • flushing out waste from your body
  • regulating body temperature
  • helping your brain function

Recommended water intake relates to factors such as age and health. There is no standard recommendation for how much water to drink. Some people require more or less water, depending on a variety of factors such as activity level, age, body size, temperature, humidity, sun exposure, and health status

Most health authorities suggest ranges for daily water intake is

  • 2,700 mL/day for adult women
  • 3,700 mL/day for adult men

Not drinking enough water can increase the risk of kidney stones and, in women, urinary tract infections (UTIs). It can also lower your physical and mental performance, and your salivary gland function, and lead to dehydration.

Avoid sugary and artificially sweetened drinks

limit intake of drinks containing added sugar. This includes:

  • sugar-sweetened soft drinks
  • fruit drinks
  • vitamin-style waters
  • flavoured mineral waters
  • energy and sports drinks.

Having sugary drinks provides additional energy to the diet, but no other essential nutrients. There is strong evidence of the association between having sugary dinks and excess weight gain in both children and adults, as well as reduced bone strength and tooth decay.


Dehydration occurs when the water content of the body is too low. This is easily fixed by increasing fluid intake. Symptoms of dehydration include; thirst, headaches, lethargy, mood changes and slow responses, dry nasal passages, dry or cracked lips, dark-coloured urine, weakness, tiredness and confusion and hallucinations. If dehydration is not corrected by fluid intake, eventually urination stops, the kidneys fail, and the body can’t remove toxic waste products. In extreme cases, dehydration may result in death.

There are several factors that can cause dehydration including:

  • Not drinking enough water.
  • Increased sweating due to hot weather, humidity, exercise or fever.
  • Insufficient signalling mechanisms in the elderly – sometimes, older adults do not feel thirsty even though they may be dehydrated.
  • Increased output of urine due to a hormone deficiency, diabetes, kidney disease or medications.
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • Recovering from burns.

Anyone can experience dehydration but there are some people who can be more at risk – such as babies, children and the elderly. Babies and children are susceptible to dehydration, particularly if they are ill. Vomiting, fever and diarrhoea can quickly cause dehydration.

Signs that indicate a lack of adequate water

These are some of the signs that indicate a lack of adequate water in the body:

  • Dark coloured urine,
  • Persistent thirst,
  • Headache,
  • Dry lips and tongue,
  • Increased pulse rate, and
  • Sleepiness.

Drinking too much water can damage the body and cause hyponatraemia (water intoxication), although it is pretty rare in the generalpopulation.

Hyponatraemia occurs when sodium in the blood, which is needed for muscle contraction and sending nerve impulses, drops to a dangerously lowlevel.

If large amounts of plain water are consumed in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot get rid of enough fluid through urine and the blood becomes diluted.

For water to reach toxic levels, many litres of water would have to be consumed in a short period of time.


Many people believe that drinking water causes fluid retention (or oedema). Drinking water helps the body rid itself of excess sodium, which results in less fluid retention.

The body will retain fluid if there is too little water in the cells. If the body receives enough water on a regular basis, there will be no need for it to hold onto water and this will reduce fluid retention.

  • flushing out waste from your body
  • regulating body temperature
  • helping your brain function

You get most of your water from drinking beverages, but food also contributes a small amount to your daily water intake.