Water is the most important as it helps in various metabolic activities. The human body contains approximately 60 % of body water and this varies with age, gender, body size and composition. This is distributed in various body tissues and organs by weight ranges from 10% to 95% like Adipose tissue, bone, skin, muscles, brain,  lungs, kidneys, blood and eyes.

Benefits of water: The various metabolic activities of water

  • Transportation of nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Maintenance of blood volume
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Functioning of cardiovascular and the digestive system
  • Elimination of toxins
  • Lubrication of skin and tissues and maintains the elasticity of tissues and muscles, cell shape and structure etc.
  • Maintenance of acid-base balance
  • Boosting energy metabolism
  • Hydration of brain cells and thereby maintaining better cognitive function.

The requirement of water was estimated based on a factorial approach, utilizing the existing literature of the fluid guidelines made by IOM and WHO with corrections made for the body mass and energy requirement to suit the Indian context.

The water requirements:

Adult man 32-58ml/kg body weight
Adult woman 27-52ml/kg body weight
Children 60ml/kg body weight
Adolescent Boys 47-60ml/kg body weight
Adolescent Girls 39-49ml/kg body weight
Elderly(sedentary Activity

(Moderate Activity)

33ml/kg body weight

38ml/kg body weight

Pregnant Woman: 2.1-3.2litres/day (Based on working intensity)

Water balance:

The minimum requirement for water is the amount that equals losses and prevents the adverse effects of insufficient water. The requirement is based on environmental conditions and physical activity. A healthy person needs to take at least 8-10 glasses of water daily. The fluids that we take other than water in our daily routine are also considered and also the fluid that is formed due to the oxidation of food (Metabolic water), the one present in food, one that is added while preparation and also the breakdown of body tissues. This is the water gained. The water losses are through renal, respiratory and skin surfaces.

Consequences of hyper-hydration: 

Excess intake of fluid or decreased body’s ability to excrete water or increased tendency to retain water by the body leads to overhydration. It is normally seen in kidney disorders, liver diseases, congestive heart failure and hormone imbalance. Over-hydration reduces the concentration of sodium in the body and leads to hyponatremia and then to muscle cramps and weakness.

Beverages to be avoided to prevent dehydration:

  • Excess of tea/coffee
  • Excess of Concentrated/tetra pack fruit juices
  • Carbonated Beverages (Soda water/Cola beverages)

Beverages other than water to keep you hydrated:

  • Home-made soups without the addition of any flavourings and colour-Vegetarian/Non-vegetarian.
  • Vegetable juices
  • Lemon juice (not with soda water)
  • Fresh fruit juices (no sugar and not diluted). B
  • Tender Coconut water
  • Buttermilk
  • Lassi

Tips:

  • Start your day with at least a glass of plain water. (Lukewarm or normal water).
  • Having lukewarm water post a meal and having it post half an hour of having a meal helps in better digestion.
  • Maintaining proper intake of water helps to control blood pressure.
  • Keeping yourself hydrated will make you feel fresh and active and thus restrict you from over-eating.
  • Proper intake of water daily will keep you away from urinary tract infections, kidney stones, indigestion, acidity etc.
  • Prefer to consume boiled water to keep it free from bacteria, viruses etc.
  • Consume the required amount of water and maintain it throughout the day to keep you away from dehydration.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and take other beverages in moderation.

Ms. Nishitha Krishnan T | Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics | Narayana Medical Centre, Langford Town, Bangalore

Narayana Health

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