Water – are you getting enough?
With the weather getting colder, we often don’t feel as thirsty and its easy for many hours to go by without drinking. However, water is defined as an ‘essential’ nutrient as it is required by the body for digestion, absorption, transportation and elimination. All biochemical reactions occur in water, it’s important for the body to retain its core internal temperature and it maintains our blood and cell volume.
Did you know that water comprises 72% of fat free weight of the human body and >60% of overall weight? Water composition in the body is made of:
60% red blood cells
75% muscle tissue
92% blood plasma
Water cannot be stored in the body. Losses occur through urine, when breathing, sweating and through faeces. We lose between 1450 and 2800 millilitres a day. For perspective, 1 cup of water equals 230mls. So bodily functions require at a minimum, 6.3 cups of water! Of course, lots of water comes from our food.
The recommended daily intake of water is 2-3 L (2,000-3,000 ml). A quick guide for your bodily water intake needs is - Water (L) = body weight x 0.03. So, for an 80kg person, you will need approximately 2.4L of water a day. Consider your fluid and food intake, as well as factors which may increase your demand, like exercise, the weather, disease states etc.
If you are trying to lose weight, water 1/2hr before meals can help you feel fuller, hence less food consumption. For those who exercise, there is a strong link between dehydration and early fatigue and impaired sports performance.
If you are not particularly keen on the taste of water, infuse it with herbs and/or fruit. Try fresh mint (helps curb appetite), lemon or lime (helps produce stomach acid for the break-down of food), cucumber (decrease water retention) or berries (packed with antioxidants and vitamin C).
Water Sources in food