You dehydrate a little bit every day
60% of the body of women and elderly people consists of water. For men this is about 65% and for babies this is even 75%. Women have less water in their bodies because generally their bodies consist of more fat than men. Adipose tissue contains no water. It is distributed all over the body: about 65% is in cells and tissues, the remaining fluid is in the spaces between the cells and in our blood. Water is an important element for the absorption of nutrients in the gut, the transport of food and of waste products, and the regulation of your body temperature. We get most of the water through drinking. Every day a large amount of water leaves the body through the skin (when you sweat), when you go to the toilet, but also when you breath. How much water you lose differs per person,. This depends on a number of factors such as age, gender and weight. But, physical exertion also plays a role. If you do a lot of sports and exercises or work out at a higher temperature, you need more water. If you don’t work out as much and are in cool rooms, you need less.
It is necessary to replenish what you lose in water. The best way to maintain water balance is to drink plenty of fluids and you’ll also take in water by eating food. The body automatically restores the water balance. If you lose too much water, it will excrete less urine or you will feel thirsty, which makes you drink more.
You hydrate by:
- drink: preferably 50 to 65 fl oz
- food: about 30 oz
- oxidation water: about 12 fl oz is released in the body when protein, fats and carbohydrates from food are converted into energy. (This fluid is called oxidation water)
You dehydrate by:
- urine: about 47 fl oz
- stool: about 3 fl oz
- exhalation: about 17 fl oz
- sweating: about 17 fl oz
To compensate for the fluid you lose each day, you must drink enough.
We need about 50 to 65 fl oz of water each day
Under normal circumstances, adults need about 85 fl oz of water per day. We get about 34 fl oz of water from food, so there is still 50 fl oz liters left. A glass of water is the best way to get enough fluids, because it contains no calories, sugars or other additives. But you can also take in other products, for example in tea and fruit.
It is best to drink healthy and choose drinks such as water and green tea. Milk, coffee and herbal tea are also allowed, but to a limited extent (2 to 3 cups per day). Drinks with sugar such as fruit juice, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and energy drinks should not be drunk too much. Alcohol and coffee also drain water from your body, which only increases your need for water.
Water is seen by some as boring and tasteless and that is why it is sometimes more likely to choose soft drinks or fruit juices. Yet, you can make a very tasty drink from water by infusing it with fresh herbs and fruit.
Fit at Home gives you 3 examples:
- Water with mint and lemon slices
- Water with cucumber, mint and lime wedges
- Water with basil, strawberry and lemon
It‘s wise to have a bottle of water with you when you’re travelling. A bottle of water in your bedroom, living room or on your desk can also help you drink more.
Gets rid of waste products
Water is necessary for the transport of waste products in your body. The kidneys remove all waste products and purify the blood. What remains are the waste products that leave your body through urine. Water is therefore important for the kidneys and therefore also for the removal of waste.
You can check whether or not you’re drinking enough by looking at the colour of your urine. If it is very dark, it means that the percentage of water in the urine is very low. A sign that you’re not drinking enough. The more water you drink, the lighter the colour of your urine becomes.
Controls body temperature
The body needs water to keep it warm. For example, if you are hot, you will sweat. This is a cooling mechanism of the body. If your body does not have enough water, it can’t cool down enough.
Everything you eat ends up in your stomach. Stomach acid changes everything into small particles. The important nutrients from food are absorbed into the blood (which mainly consists of water) and transported to the right places in your body. In addition, dietary fibre needs water to do its job. The fibre sticks water to it, making the stool softer.
The water in your body is important for:
- dissolving nutrients, allowing them to be absorbed in the gut
- the transport of nutrients and waste products in the blood
- regulating your body temperature
If you don’t drink for too long, you may experience dehydration symptoms, such as:
- sweat less
- pee less
- less elasticity of the skin
- fainting due to a drop in blood pressure, resulting in an extra load on the heart. This can be enhanced by widening blood vessels in the skin, for example during heat or exertion.
The brain cells in particular are sensitive to severe dehydration. Confusion is an important indicator of severe dehydration. Very severe dehydration can lead to coma. Dehydration can also occur with diarrhoea. For the elderly, who can no longer take care of themselves, and sick children, it is very important to ensure that they drink enough water.
Without water, a person can only survive a few days and new born babies even shorter.
Too much water?
Too much fluid can lead to a low level of salts (sodium) in the blood.This can cause arrhythmias in the heart. An excess of fluid can also lead to fluid accumulation in the brain. This almost never happens, only if you hydrate excessively. The kidneys can process about 24 fl oz to 34 fl oz of water per hour.
Sufficient fluid is important to keep urine production going and thus for the removal of waste products from the body. Drinking as detoxification is scientifically not sufficiently substantiated.
Some people are prescribed water tablets by their doctor if they retain too much fluid. This applies, for example, if the kidneys deteriorate. The use of water tablets is usually accompanied by dietary advice for salt or protein. Ask your doctor if you use diuretics.
Drinking too much is also not good. As mentioned, the kidneys can process a maximum of 24 fl oz to 34 fl oz of fluid per hour. The advice is to mainly drink water or green tea. Alcohol makes you lose more fluid than you take in, which means you dehydrate faster. Children also need more water in extreme heat, but less than adults. Children who rarely go to the toilet and urinate dark urine should drink more. Children who vomit or go to the toilet a lot may have drunk too much water. It is advisable to give moist foods, such as dairy, vegetables and fruit.