It is not common to term water a nutrient. In fact, conventional medical science doesn’t. Water has no calories in it. But to absorb any of the calories you eat, water is essential. All the vital chemical processes within your body require water. So the name, obliquely, is apt.
Water is about 50-60 percent of the body. Breaking this down: your brain is 70 percent water, lungs 90 percent water, heart 60 percent water. Dehydration of as little as 2% loss of body weight results in impaired physiological responses and performance. This has wide ranging effects on the body. Every single one of the myriad things your body does get affected by a lack of water.
Since the body is continually using it, fluid stores has to be continually replenished. Metabolic and other process and also some evaporation mean that we, on an average, require 2 to 2.5 litres of water, in addition to the fluids in any foods you eat. The fluid content in foods comes up to around 800 mL. To reinforce our assertion that water is essential, we cover, in this blog, the various reasons your body needs water. These are not exhaustive. The truth is every single organ in your body needs water. Our aim is just to draw your attention to the criticality of adequate hydration.
Why your brain needs water
Brain cells and nerves require a delicate balance between water and various elements (like minerals and other micronutrients) to operate, and when you don’t drink enough water, that balance is upset. Your brain cells lose efficacy and your cognition is compromised. Years of research have found that when you aren’t hydrated enough, your attention span is lower. Dehydration also affects short-term memory, which is essential to make the calculations very necessary for work, and also day-to-day functioning.
Why your kidneys need water
In general health discussions, kidneys probably don’t get as much attention as say, your heart or your lungs. But healthy kidneys are imperative for a healthy body. They are responsible for many vital activities, most of which involve water. Kidneys remove waste products and also regulate the levels of salt, potassium, and also produce some hormones for optimum body functioning. Using and losing more water than the body takes in can lead to an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes.
Why your lungs need water
The lungs require humid air to do their work. The body has to moisturize the air before it reaches the lungs and does so through the mucous membranes lining the nasal passages and the respiratory tract. As available fluid decreases (due to lower intake), the mucous lining becomes drier. This in turn irritates the lungs, causing them to become more reactive to dust, mold particles, cigarette smoke and other irritants, and less resistant to viruses and bacteria. The result: dry cough and bronchitis.
Why your skin needs water
We often forget that the skin is an organ too. It has cells, which need water for survival. When you drink too little water, not only does your skin become too dry and hence more prone to wrinkling, it also becomes more reactive. Because of this your immunity, overall, becomes compromised. A lot of diseases that your body is naturally resistant to (because of healthy skin) now become easier to contract.
Why your heart needs water
Dehydration causes strain on your heart. The amount of blood circulating through your body, or blood volume, decreases when you are dehydrated. To compensate, your heart beats faster, increasing your heart rate and causing you to feel palpitations. Also your blood retains more sodium, making it tougher for it to circulate through your body.
In the case of dehydration, which element is retained by your blood?