The human body is primarily water. Infants are made up of 70 percent water, while adult males are 60 percent and females are 55 percent. Water provides the medium to make your blood, helps move food through your digestive tract and removes waste from every cell in your body. Drink a minimum of 64 oz. of water daily to replace what is lost through metabolism. Your specific water needs should take into account your physical activity level and the geographic region in which you live.
Water hydrates the body by serving as a lubricant to moisten joints, and also protects your eyes, brain and spinal cord. Your digestive system uses water for vital fluids such as blood, saliva and digestive fluids to aid in the transportation of nutrients and removal of waste products. Water helps move your food through your intestines, which is important in preventing constipation.
Water provides the medium for electrolytes to circulate throughout your body. Electrolytes are the minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium. These electrolytes provide transportation of glucose and amino acids in and out of cells. Each electrolyte is balanced by another of equal but opposite charge to manage the flow of nutrients to cells and waste from cells.
Water helps regulate pH balance in your body. Water is neutral -- neither acidic, or low pH, nor basic, or high pH. The concentration of hydrogen in the body creates an acidic or basic level in your blood and organs. Water allows free hydrogen ions to move in and out of blood, cells and water to maintain the pH of your body, which is around 7.4.
Water has a chemical property that makes it able to absorb and release heat to maintain the temperature of the environment it is in. Your body temperature must be maintained within a very narrow range, and water removes excessive heat from the body through evaporation of sweat. You can lose up to a pint of water through sweat.
Water in Foods
Water is in celery, lettuce and other vegetables. Meats such as chicken, beef and fish can contain up to one-half to two-thirds of their weight in water. Milk and juices also contain water. The water in all these foods counts towards your daily fluid intake.
- Neb Guide: Water the Nutrient
- "Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies"; Frances Sizer and Eleanor Whitney; 2008