The Role of Water

Role of water

Roughly 60% percent of the adult body weight is water. About two thirds of this water is inside the cells. Unlike many nutrients, excess water cannot be stored inside the body. So it has to be replaced whenever it falls short.

Water is the basis of life and performs many key functions in the body like maintaining digestion and body temperature, keeping organs and tissues healthy and as part of blood, helps in carrying oxygen to every cell in the body. 

A shortage of water, or dehydration, can set in at a loss of fluids that is 2% of the body weight. With dehydration, fatigue sets in, brain functions get impaired, and regulation of body temperature is hampered. 

There is a widespread belief that drinking 8 glasses of water a day is necessary but there are no studies supporting that. In fact, your body has in-built mechanisms to detect the need for water by simply making you thirsty. So you should drink liquids whenever thirsty. The other way to check whether you need water is when the urine turns bright yellow. The kidneys make the urine concentrated if you drink less water and this is a signal to drink more water. Typically, depending on the circumstances, lifestyle and the individual, one might take up to 1 to 4 litres of water per day. 

Water is a great choice as a beverage since it is calorie-free. But depending on other needs, you can also opt for other liquids like fruit juices, lime water, coconut water, etc. During endurance sports events, the body loses water and salt and it is necessary to replenish them quickly.

80% of the body’s water requirement comes from drinking water and the rest is obtained through food. Many foods, especially fruits and vegetables, have upwards of 80% of their weight as water. So, if your diet includes more than 50% of fruits and vegetables, your need to drink water is reduced.

Drinking water a half-hour before any meal helps in filling up the stomach to some extent and reduces your appetite. This can aid weight loss. More about the benefits of water here:

Reviewed by- Dr. N. Nayak, MBBS, MD

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