Why is water important?

Water is the most abundant compound on Earth and its liquid form covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface.  Water (agua, H2O, and dihydrogen oxide) is also interesting chemically and exhibits a host of unique and complex properties, validating its importance for life and our human existence.  Water has several functions in the body, with several roles listed below.

  • regulates body temperature
  • lubricates joints
  • carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • prevents constipation
  • lessons burden on kidneys and liver
  • protects body organs and tissues

Humans are astonishingly made up 60-75% water (not Diet Coke or Snapple, I might add).  This range exists because water in the body is influenced by a variety of factors including your age, where you live, your activity level, muscle mass, along with how well-hydrated you are!  Although the popular recommendation is to drink 8 cups of water a day, there is no evidence validating this claim.  Each person’s recommendation varies and this amount is also determined by how much you sweat, current medications, and diagnosed diseases.

So how much water should we be drinking? 

I would first like to add that how much water we put into our systems not only includes water, but also other beverages that include water (i.e., milk is about 85-90% water, and tea and coffee are essentially water) and foods that have a high water content (i.e., an apple is about 84% water).  The Institute of Medicine suggests men to drink about 13 cups of total beverages a day and about 9 cups for women.  While the color of your urine is a rough indication of how much water you are drinking, if you take a multi-vitamin or B-vitamin complex supplement your urine will be bright yellow even if you are properly hydrated.  You ideally want the toilet-bowl water to look like lemonade instead of amber or dark yellow.

Read more about water in the blog post on water!

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