Water – H2O. We all know that water is important to our health, but many of us don’t truly appreciate how important. Without question, water is the single most important substance to the human body. Obviously, many elements go into being healthy and no single thing alone will suffice, but water must rank top of the list. You can survive for weeks without food, but you will be lucky to survive if you go 5-7 days without being able to consume water.
A 1% drop in your body water content will cause you to become thirsty. If it drops by 5% you will notice your strength and endurance becomes affected and you will become hot and lethargic. At 10% you will experience blurred vision and delirium. Not many people will survive if your body reaches a 20% reduction in water content. Your body can’t afford to let this critical resource drop to a dangerous level.
Our Bodies Water Content
One reason water is so vital to our body is that it represents what our body is predominantly comprised of. It is our main ingredient. A typical male consists of approximately 60% water. This value varies when you take other factors into account such as gender, age, weight, body fat composition and state of health etc. If you take all things into consideration then the average for humans as a whole is probably around 53%. Percentages vary considerably for each gender with a female average of 48% ±6% and a male average of 58% ±8%. A typical human brain has a typical water content of around 75%. Human blood comprises of around 83% water, the heart is around 79%, our muscles contain about 76% water, the skin is approximately 72% water and even our bones have as much as 22% water content.
Our body is losing water constantly through the day and night. Water is lost every time we go to the toilet. Water is lost through sweat and water is lost with every breath we take. Many of the processes that occur within our body depend on water. It is imperative we continually replace these fluids on a regular basis to maintain healthy water levels within our body.
Water the Transporter
Many substances are soluble in water, making it an excellent and important transporter of nutrients throughout our body. 83% of our blood comprises of water. Our blood transports numerous substances and nutrients from cell to cell. It transports respiratory gasses oxygen and carbon dioxide. It also transports waste products ready for removal. Urine is comprised mostly of water which also has an important transporting role involving removal of waste substances from the body. If our water levels are not adequate enough to make urine then we can become ill if we are unable to remove these waste products as they are allowed to build up in our system.
Water the Protector
Water based fluids line our nasal and respiratory passageways with the function of trapping contaminants and to moisten the air which we breath in. Fluids in our eyes keep them protected and moist and allow us to wash away dirt. And water based fluids protect our joints from becoming stiff and keep movement and motion smooth.
Water and pH Regulation
Water is involved in numerous chemical reactions within our body. One of these is regulating our Ph level. Our bodies naturally want to maintain a slightly alkaline environment and aims to maintain a Ph of around 7.4. If our pH only slightly deviates from this ideal level by too much then it can result in life threatening consequences (dangerous levels are below 6.9 and greater than 7.6). Our body uses water as a reactant to help maintain these ideal pH levels. If there are not enough H+ ions then water will react with carbon dioxide and generate additional H+ ions and will consequently lower the pH level. If pH levels are low, then H+ ions will be consumed and carbon dioxide and water will be formed and pH levels will be raised. This reaction will ensure regulation of the body’s pH level.
Water and Electrolyte Balance
It is important our body regulates our muscle and nerve function, our blood pH, our hydration level and our blood pressure. We must be able to transmit information to our brain. Among other things, this is the role of charged ions called electrolytes. Water will flow in and out of our cells to ensure these important electrolytes maintain an ideal balance.
Water and Regulation of Body Temperature
Water is the air conditioning unit of the body. Our body temperature, just like our pH level, needs to be maintained within a specific range. Ideally, our body wants to maintain a temperature of around 37.0 °C (98.6 °F). If we are exposed to extreme temperatures then our body will respond by sweating. The sweat will evaporate on the surface of our skin, which will draw heat away from the body which will cool us down. If we are exercising, then our body temperature will rise and we will sweat to keep cool. Sweating is a bodily response which results in a significant volume of fluid loss, so it is important when we sweat a lot that we replenish the water we have lost as soon as possible.
Clearly consuming enough water is vitally important for our health. However, it is also important to make sure that the water we drink is of the highest quality we are able to consume. Tap water is treated with many chemicals and substances that are undesirable to our body. Other options are to drink bottled water or there are many different water filters on the market that vary in their filtering capabilities. The more harmful substances you can filter from the water the better. To gain even more benefit from the water you drink you may want to consider drinking alkaline water (there are many products on the market that can produce alkaline water. Do your research on the most effective ones. However, never consume alkaline water with your meals, always between meals, as the alkaline water will dilute and weaken your stomach acid, which is needed for proper digestion of your food). Learn more about the health benefits of alkalising your body HERE. The absolute optimum type of water you can drink is structured water. Structured water is the way water should be in nature, containing life force energy. The list of benefits associated with structured water is vast. Some of the main benefits include superior hydration, the ability to neutralise adverse toxins, increased nutrient absorption, increased oxygen uptake, contains an abundance of healthy negative hydrogen ions and many other health giving benefits.
So much more can be written on the importance of water due to the number of important things it does for our health. This is just a short summary of some of the main roles water plays within our bodies. However; one should never focus on any individual substance to achieve overall good health. It is actually vitally important that our bodies receive a full spectrum of nutrients and actions to have a chance of functioning properly and to help us remain disease free.