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Published on August 25th, 2011 | by Rachel Fox, RD

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Water: The Importance of Hydration

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glasses of waterAdequate water is important for daily life functions. Just how much water do we need, and what is it doing inside our bodies?

Humans are made up of about two thirds water. Without enough in our diets, we would die in a matter of days. There are couple different recommendations as far as how much water we should drink daily. The National Institute of Medicine recommends 3 Liters for men and 2.2 Liters for women. Remember, this total includes water from beverages other than water. More water should be consumed if you’ve been exercising, been out in the summer heat, have a medical condition that requires more water, or if you’re pregnant. What does water do for our bodies?

Temperature Regulation

When we get too hot, we make sweat. Without enough water in our diet, we can’t make enough sweat. Temperature regulation, and prevention of over heating, can be accomplished by drinking adequate water. The more you sweat, the more you need. If you weight yourself prior to exercise, or gardening on a hot day, and weigh yourself after you can determine how much water you lost by sweating. Each pound lost is about 500mL of water that needs replacing.

Kidney Function

Kidneys are one of the most hard working organs in our bodies. They regulate electrolytes, filter blood for toxins and regulate blood pressure. All functions of the kidney involve filtering blood through tiny tubes. Filtering can be made easier by drinking adequate water. Try this analogy: picture yourself making coffee. Put one cup of coffee grounds and one cup water into the machine. Try to make the coffee. It might take a while right? The result may be thick coffee, or none at all. Now picture making coffee with one tablespoon of coffee grounds and 6 cups of water. It filters much easier correct. Your kidney works in the same way. Do your kidneys a favor and drink enough water.

Regular Digestion

We always hear that fiber helps maintain proper digestion. This is very true! The important fact that gets left out is with increased fiber in the diet, we need increased water. Fiber is like exercise for your gut. It is indigestible and, for the most part, passes straight through your body. Water helps the intestine with a medium to work with. Picture fiber as cardboard (some people think of fiber foods that way anyway!) Would you eat cardboard without washing it down with some water? Probably not. The same goes for high fiber foods, no matter how juicy you may make them. Fiber without sufficient water can actually create constipation (the opposite of what most are trying to achieve with high fiber.)

Water is an extremely important part of our daily diets. Drinking enough water daily helps maintain healthy bodies inside and out.

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Image credit to creative commons user vnoel

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About the Author

Rachel is a Registered Dietitian and food and nutrition enthusiast from southeast Michigan. She has her Bachelor's in Dietetics from Central Michigan University and completed her dietetic internship at Michigan State University. Rachel aspires to get a Master's of Public Health in the near future. Her passions include cooking, baking, and even grocery shopping. She supports local food, slow food, and good food! Rachel's spare time is devoted to attending local concerts and festivals, reading and playing tennis.



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