Water constitutes 50 to 75 per cent of the human body. We can last weeks without food, but only days without water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration, and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones. As the body can’t store water, fresh supply is needed every day to make up for losses from the lungs, skin, urine and feces.
Points to note about our water supply in our bodies:
- Body water content is higher in men than in women and falls in both with age.
- Most mature adults lose about 2.5 to 3 litres of water per day.
- Water loss may increase in hot weather and with prolonged exercise.
Recommended daily fluid intake per day:
- Infants aged 0–12 months require up to 1 ltr
- Children aged 1–3 years require 1 ltr
- Children aged 4–13 years require up to 1.6 ltrs
- Teenagers aged 14–18 years require up to 2 ltrs
- Adults require up to 2.5 ltrs
Risks of inadequate fluid intake:
- Increase the risk of kidney stones
- Urinary tract infections
- Lower your physical and mental performance
- Lower salivary gland function
Symptoms of dehydration:
- Thirst & headaches
- Lethargy, mood changes and slow response
- Dry nasal passages & dry or cracked lips
- Dark-colored urine
- Weakness & tiredness
Importance of water:
- Keeps the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels
- Regulates body temperature through sweating
- Moistens mucous membranes of lungs and mouth
- Lubricates and cushions the joints
- Keeps the urinary bladder clear
- Aids digestion and prevents constipation
- Moisturizes the skin to maintain its texture and appearance
- Serves as a shock absorber inside the eyes, spinal cord and in the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus in pregnancy