Water is the most essential element for life! 97% of the earth is covered with water and depending on location, BMI, age and $ex; the average human body is 55-60% water. And the babies have nearly 75% of water and the level drops to 65% when they become a year old.It is absolutely necessary to know why water is required for body and what role does water play and how much water consumption is adequate for human body to stay healthy as explained by Mia Nacamulli in a TED-Ed talk.
The water in our body basically cushions and lubricates the joints, works to regulate the temperature of the body and nourishes the brain and spinal cord. In human body, water is not only found in blood but, an adult’s brain and heart are almost three quarters of water which is roughly same as amount of moisture in a banana. The lungs have nearly 83% of water and that is same as an apple and the dry human bones also have water of 31%. Now, when we are made up of water and there’s so much of water surrounding us, it is intriguing as to why do we have to drink water?
We need to drink water to maintain the water level in our body as we lose two to three liters of water every day through sweat, urine and bowel movements and even from breathing. The compensation for the fluid loss has to be made as these actions are important for survival. This maintenance of water level is important to avoid dehydration or over-hydration as both of them will have adverse effects on human body.
Consider dehydration, your brain will work that much harder to process the simple plot of a movie or TV show which otherwise would have been easier for a normal brain that has the necessary amount of water. Low water in the body will temporarily shrink your brain. The sensory receptors in the brain’s hypothalamus send out signals of anti-diuretic hormone on the detection of lack of water. The signals reach the kidneys which create aquaporins. These are special channels that help blood to absorb and retain more water. This in turn leads to concentrated, dark urine. If the dehydration increases, it results in lack of energy, effects mood and drops skin moisture and blood pressure and there might be signs of cognitive impairment.Likewise, over-hydration or hyponatremia is over consumption of water in a short period of time which is usually faced by athletes as they may have complications in keeping up the water level in extreme physical conditions. The over-hydrated brain reduces or stops sending anti-diuretic signals into the blood, diluting sodium electrolytes in the body resulting in swelling of cells. In some of the cases, the kidneys can’t handle the volumes of diluted urine causing water intoxication possibly causing headache, vomiting and in rare instances seizures or even death!
Hence, maintaining the water level becomes an altogether an important task. Conventionally, 8 glasses of water a day was advised, nevertheless, today, it depends on our weight and surrounding environment. The recommended intake of water varies from 2.5-3.7 liters of water for men and 2-2.7 liters for women.
Water might be the greatest hydrator, but other beverages like caffeine and tea, fruits and vegetables help in replenishing the needed fluids at the same time providing various other benefits. Water helps reduce stroke, certain types of cancer and maintain diabetes. Whatsoever, right amount of water makes all the difference!