Your body is made up of 55 to 78% water, depending on your size. Water is the main component of the human body. Each of your muscles consists of 75% water, your brain is 90% water, your bones are 22% water, and your blood is 83% water.
Getting enough water is crucial.
Water is needed in the body to regulate temperature and provide a route for nutrients to travel to all of your vital organs and tissues. It also helps transport oxygen to all of your cells, whilst removing waste (detoxifying), aiding metabolism, and protecting your joints and organs from injury and illness.
Drinking water, pure water, is the best way to get it into your body. Water is lost from the body via urination, respiration, and sweating – far more water is lost when you partake in physical activities than when you are sitting still. If your body is losing more water than it is taking in, you will become dehydrated. Diuretics like alcohol, caffeine, and some medications, can increase the amount of water your body loses. You need to replace these fluids by consuming the right foods and plenty of fresh water.
If you are worried you might be dehydrated, the symptoms to be aware of include extreme thirst, tiredness, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry skin, and headaches. You may also notice a strong odour to your urine, and a slightly more yellow or amber colour. (Please note though that some dietary supplements and medications can also cause a colouring of the urine. Always read the leaflets, or ask your doctor if you are concerned.) Dehydration can have far more unpleasant consequences if not dealt with appropriately; make sure you rehydrate your body if you are feeling even just a little under the weather.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
The foods you consume daily will supply about 20% of the water your body needs. The rest needs to come from the beverages you choose to drink. The best way to determine how much water you need is to take your weight, in pounds, and halve it. This is essentially the number of ounces you should drink in water each day.
If you weigh 180 pounds, for example, you should try to drink at least 90 ounces of water/ fluids per day.
What Should I Drink?
In short – water! Water is the best choice for hydrating the body – it’s cheap, has no calories or added ingredients, and is absorbed instantly to get to work where it is needed. Sweetened soft drinks, fizzy drinks, sodas, etc. – have extra sugar, but absolutely no additional nutritional value.
Sports drinks can be tempting, and do often contain minerals to potentially help keep your electrolytes in balance, (this can be good for recovering after a hard training session), but watch out for added sugar, and calories that you may want to avoid.
Fruit and vegetable juices are packed full of vitamins and minerals, they also have a high water content, be careful and read the labels though – many vegetable juices are high in sodium, and some juice ‘drinks’ can have added sugars and various other ingredients that won’t benefit your health.
Common caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee are indeed a source of water, but as mentioned earlier – caffeine can actually dehydrate the body, and long term consumption have adverse effects on your health.