Do you drink when you have a strong thirst? It’s too late because the appetite for something to drink shows that your body is starting to dehydrate. How much do you need to drink a day for the body to function properly?
Why is water so important
Why is the water balance so important, and why dehydration of the body can be fatal to health? A significant part of our mass (even 70%) is water. Women have a little less of it because their body contains more adipose tissue. No wonder the body monitors fluid levels on an ongoing basis. How important it is to keep the balance between the amount of water drank and excreted is the fact that the loss of only 1-2 per cent of fluids adversely affects the functioning of the body. This is why we can survive for several weeks without eating and only a few days without drinking.
Water balance - water, the driving force of life
Water does not provide energy but has other extremely important functions. Everything that happens in the body requires water. It is thanks to her that chemical reactions take place that allow you to maintain your physical and mental condition in an optimal state.
Water is essential for maintaining proper blood volume and blood pressure. It transfers nutrients and oxygen to cells. By moving - as the main component of various body fluids - it cleans the body of metabolic waste products. It also determines body temperature. When it rises dangerously, excess heat is removed with sweat. Without water, there is no way for the body to properly digest food, for proper bowel function, and assimilation of nutrients. It moisturizes the eyeballs, makes it easier to swallow bites of food, participates in the transmission of sounds through the middle ear and enables breathing by constantly moistening the lungs.
What is water balance
Within a day, the body loses approx. 2.5 litres of water. The most important regulator of water balance are kidneys, which constantly filter the blood and produce about 1.4 litres of urine per day. Water also escapes from the body via other routes with sweat - 0.5 litres, from the respiratory tract - 0.4 litres, and with faeces - about 0.2 litres. In a healthy person, water deficiency manifests itself as thirst. We feel it already when losing 1-2 per cent of the water. Loss of about 20 per cent of body water leads to death. To compensate for the fluid deficiency, you should drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day, although the minimum set by WHO experts is 3 litres per day.
Water demand depends on the season, climatic zone, metabolism, and the type of activities performed. It is most needed in hot weather and during physical exertion (up to 4 litres), when water intensively evaporates through the skin, in frosts, because more energy is needed to warm the body, during high-temperature illness, diarrhoea, vomiting, kidney disorders and diabetes.
Your body uses more water than usual to digest high-calorie meals, when you eat high-fibre foods (more water lost in your faeces), are heavily salty and spicy, and when you drink alcohol, which is a diuretic. More water should be drunk by people who are slimming and who are overweight (about 2 litres for every 25 kg above the normal body weight) and who drink a lot of coffee and strong tea.
Water balance - choose your drinks wisely
When choosing water, you should take into account your health - e.g. people with hypertension should avoid water with high sodium content. Those with a higher concentration of magnesium should be a better choice. Spring waters are best for pregnant women and infants. People suffering from kidney stones should avoid water with the high calcium content. But people suffering from osteoporosis must look for water with the highest concentration of this element. People who work hard or at high temperatures will supplement mineral deficiencies with water rich in sodium and potassium.
Why is hydration so important?
Most people drink too little water, which causes health problems. The amount of urine you exert is regulated by the vasopressin, the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) produced by the pituitary gland. If there is not enough water, the concentration of the hormone increases. This leads to its removal from the kidneys and transfer to the plasma. Over time, however, urine and plasma are increasingly concentrated and saturated with sodium. Then there is intracellular dehydration, which is manifested by thirst, dry mouth, irritability, insomnia, reddening of the skin, loss of appetite, physical weakness, impaired coordination of movements, reduced amount of urine. The excretion of small amounts of urine impairs the removal of metabolism products, urea, creatinine - substances that poison the body.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration is characterized by muscle cramps and pain, dry, chapped lips, weakness, loss of skin elasticity, and increasing headache. When you notice these symptoms, lie down in a cool place and drink mineral-rich water, an energizing fluid, or an isotonic drink to quickly replenish your deficiencies.