Water is the essence of life and it is the most abundant molecule in the body. Water is a structural component in every aspect of the human body and helps the cells and tissues maintain their shape and function. Anywhere from 50-75% of the body is composed of water, depending on age and body fat. While an individual could go weeks without food, an individual could only live a few days without water.
Functions of the water include:
- acting as a solvent
- acting as a chemical reactant in biochemical reactions
- transporting nutrients to the cells
- removing waste
- lubricating joints
- regulating body temperature
General recommendations for fluid intake are approximately 2 quarts for women and 3 quarts for men. These are higher if you consume caffeinated beverages, participate in moderate exercise, or are exposed to increased temperatures. Caffeinated or alcoholic beverages do not count because they are in fact a diuretic and result in fluid loss.
There are 3 main sources of fluid for our bodies. They include the liquids that we drink, the fluid that is in the food that we eat, and the water byproduct from the metabolism of food. About 80% of our fluid intake comes from what we drink, about 20% comes from the food that we eat, and a small amount (approximately 300-400mL) comes from metabolism. Food sources of water include fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy. Some of the best food sources of water include cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, spinach, celery, radishes, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, carrots, and cantaloupe.
I challenge you to track your water intake for a day to calculate your average water consumption. Using a water bottle that you enjoy, having check in points throughout the day, or using a chart to track are tips I have used to ensure success. Happy Hydration!
Mateljan, G. (2007). The World’s Healthiest Foods: Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating. (1st edition). Washington: GMF Publishing.
McGuire, M & Beerman, K. (2013). Nutritional Sciences from Fundamentals to Food. (3rd edition). California: Woodsworth.