Water is one of the 6 essential nutrients, next to carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. We need water for the human body.
We can live without food for 43 to 73 days, depending on the climate. But we can only survive 3 to 6 days without water.
When we age the system that indicates that our body needs water or food can be disturbed. We don’t always feel hunger or thirst signs. That’s why a lot of elderly people end up dehydrated or malnourished.
It’s good to keep a water diary for a couple of weeks to know what you actually drink on a day. Coffee doesn’t count, as the caffeine in the coffee stimulates the kidneys and thus makes the liquid leave your body faster.
I kept a water diary for 3 weeks and counted water, herbal tea and juice. It was a surprise to notice I drank more than I thought; 2,5 litres instead of the anticipated 2 litres. Nowadays I have a one-litre bottle on my desk so I can keep track without the diary.
Table of contents
- 1 Water for the human body
- 2 The Benefits of Water
- 3 Consequences of drinking not enough water
- 4 Water for the human body is essential
Water for the human body
Water has several benefits for our bodies: it gives energy; water is necessary for optimal functioning of the organs; transports nutrients and waste; prevents acidification; it detoxes; water is better than soft drinks.
The Benefits of Water
Our bodies need water to prevent disease and to recover from exercise. When we drink enough water, we usually feel fine. For example, too little water can cause a headache.
1. Drinking water gives energy
Water is the fuel for our bodies. Dehydration of just 2% can cause an energy loss of up to 20%. In addition to the water we drink, we also get liquids through our food. Start your day off right by drinking at least 1 glass of water immediately after getting out of bed.
2. Optimal functioning of the organs
Our body consists largely of water: an average of 55 to 60%. Some of that water is in our blood. The other part is necessary for the functioning of our organs, including our brain, lungs, heart, muscles, liver and bones.
3. Transport of nutrients and waste
Drinking a lot makes our blood thin enough to flow properly. The better the flow, the better the body is able to transport nutrients and waste products.
4. Prevents acidification
Water is a neutral substance that helps to prevent acidification. Our body strives for a good balance between acids and bases. The acidity (pH) is different for various parts of our body.
Our body naturally wants to keep the pH values as stable as possible. Water, vegetables and fruit help with this, partly due to the presence of non-acidifying minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.
5. Detox by water
Heavy metals, nicotine, alcohol and pesticides have a major impact on our bodies. Drinking enough water helps to get rid of these toxins and cleanse our bodies.
6. Water is better than soft drinks
Soft drinks are high in sugars and synthetic sweeteners and are full of phosphorus; a mineral with a strong acidifying effect. (Now I know why my father used cola to make rusted nails shine!) Hardly anyone is naturally deficient in phosphorus. On the contrary, usually, there is too much, causing acidification as a result. Too much phosphorus hinders the action of other minerals as well.
Consequences of drinking not enough water
1. Headache and dizziness
Two signs that you are not drinking enough water are headaches and dizziness. If you don’t get enough fluid, fluid is extracted from the brain and you get a headache. Dehydration can also cause the brain to get less oxygen due to a drop in blood pressure, which can cause dizziness.
2. Thirst appears as hunger
Research shows that thirst is experienced as a greater and more constant feeling than hunger, but also that thirst does not necessarily make us want to drink something. Dehydrated brains only tell you that the blood sugar is low and that we need sugar quickly. They don’t say a tall glass of water can satisfy sugar cravings.
3. Poor concentration and fatigue
Our brains are made up of 90% of water, so they suffer greatly from dehydration. A shortage of water can affect decision-making, memory and mood.
4. Bad breath and dry mouth
When your body is short of water, it will produce less saliva. The antibacterial compounds in saliva keep the bacteria in your mouth in check and prevent bad breath.
5. Joint or muscle pain
80% of your joints and cartilage consists of water, and without water therefore no healthy and strong joints. When you are dehydrated, the protective layer between the bones disappears and you are less able to take in damage.
6. Blockage and insufficient toilet use
Water lubricates the digestive system and keeps the bowels flexible and clean. Without that lubrication, you can suffer from constipation, acid regurgitation, and poor digestion. The colour of our pee tells us if we drank enough water. It should be light, almost transparent in colour.
7. An increased heart rate
A water shortage has a major influence on the heart and heart rhythm. With dehydration, the plasma volume of the blood decreases, making the blood more viscous. Thick blood is more difficult to pump and leads to an increased heart rate.
8. Dry lips and flaky skin
Water makes the skin elastic. The skin is the largest organ in the body and therefore uses a large part of the water you drink. We first notice it on the skin when we drink too little. We sweat less, so dirt and grease remain on the skin. In addition, a long-term shortage of water creates wrinkles.
Water for the human body is essential
Whenever we visit one of our Spanish friends, we are offered one drink. I am still not used to that and keep forgetting it. So at times, I ask for a coffee. Spanish coffee is 3 sips and it’s gone. And an hour later I regret not having asked for tea, because the teacups are bigger. 🙂
If I were in the Netherlands I wouldn’t hesitate to just ask for another drink, but I am still unsure what the way to behave is over here. Whenever our Spanish friends visit us they always refuse a second drink.
It amazes me, for a warm country like Spain. I am convinced we should drink a lot of (non-alcoholic) liquid, but there are clearly other opinions.
How much water do you drink on a daily basis? Tell me in the comment box.
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22 thoughts on “The Benefits of Water for the Human Body. Source of Life.”
As I started reading I thought to myself, “Now here’s a subject I know a lot about.”
Various thoughts went through my mind, but as I got further into your article, you pretty much ticked off every benefit of water that I was thinking about.
Facts, such as the main composition of the human body is water, often dehydration is mistaken for hunger, you can’t include caffeinated and carbonated drinks in your daily water intake, etc.
So, well done for hitting every single point that I thought about, as well as mentioning a few that I didn’t know.
I also know that “2 litres” is often heralded as the “right amount” of water to be drinking on a daily basis, but this is actually incorrect.
A person’s water intake is a very individual thing, and I know for someone like me I would likely be dehydrated if I only drank two litres a day.
Factors such as height, weight, activity levels, diet and nutrition also need to be considered.
I’ve never thought about keeping a water diary, but I’m going to give it a go over the next few weeks.
At a guess I’m consuming around 3.5 litres of water a day, but this is due to my high activity levels.
I have even known of professional athletes that are consuming in excess 4-5 litres a day just to stay in tip-top shape.
As I say, it all depends on the individual.
On a slightly different note, I am somewhat perturbed by what seems to be a Spanish tradition of only offering (and accepting) one drink.
Is there a particular reason for this?
I’m not sure how I’d cope with this, LOL.
I guess you would cope the same way I do, when I don’t forget it, Partha, and that is bringing your own water bottle. I have no idea why they act like this. And I am not even sure whether it’s Spanish or just Murcian, the region I live in. Which would even be more surprising, given this is one of the warmest areas of Spain. Our coast is called Costa Cálida which means Warm Coast!
You are very right that 2 liters is just an average. As you know my main target audience is people my age (60+) and most of my friends and acquaintances drink far too little water. But I am glad you pointed out that the norm is just an average and that everyone has a different body with different needs. Thanks xxx
I don’t believe I am drinking close to enough water. I am a bit of a coffee addict so that certainly does not help hydration. I think it is a splendid idea to keep a diary of the amount of daily intake of water.
Thanks for this wake-up call to drink more water. I am fairly sure I get my 2 liters a day, but I know many of the illnesses I have require medication that can make me dehydrated. I’m sure my headaches are at least worsened by this. I’ll need to try keeping a water diary to see how much I’m drinking and if it correlates with some of my symptoms.
Great plan to keep a water diary, Sean! In Dutch we would say Meten is Weten (measuring is knowing), that rhymes so nice. 🙂 But it’s evident we can’t always rely on what we estimate, can we.
I am so sorry to hear you have a lot of medication. Maybe you will even need more than 2 liters – read Partha’s comment for his valuable addition on that matter.
Since I am still breastfeeding, I try to drink as much water or fluid as possible, more than 2l a day. However, a few years ago I also kept a record of how much water I drank for a while, and that’s when I initially realized that I didn’t drink enough. Since I didn’t feel thirsty, I just forgot I had to drink. Now I always have a bottle of water with me.
You have written very useful information in this article, what are the benefits of drinking enough water and what are the consequences if we drink too little. Thanks!
LOL, hmm, so I wasn’t unique with my water diary. 😀 Just kidding. Of course I wasn’t. Great that you did that, Nina. And yes, I think you’re right drinking more than 2 liters when you’re breastfeeding. And by the way: congratulations on having a new born!! That is so great! <3
I guess for many because we take life for granted is that we don’t realize just how important water is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
It’s only in the last few years that I have started to really drink water but I put it down to not liking tap water especially in the area where we live.
So finding the right bottled water for me is the reason I drink more water.
It’s amazing just how much better the body feels after a while.
Thank you for sharing some great advice
Especially for elderly people, which I know you are mainly writing for (same as I do) having enough liquid intake is extremely important.
The elderly over time become less sensitive to the feeling of being thirsty and they even might develop an aversion to drink frequently.
The exact recommended quantity of liquid intake is constantly under dispute. Most medical sources agree though, that any higher activity or higher temperature requires additional quantity, but for a pure normal functioning of an elderly body 8 glasses are indispensable…
Anything less than that and it may very quickly lead to all the problems you mentioned.
The mental performance (memory, reaction time, attention) can be affected so much that they can be misdiagnosed for a serious illness.
The skin suffers, as well and it can develop pressure sores or other skin conditions much easier if it is dehydrated.
I also often meet older people who try to fight urinary incontinence at night by refusing to drink and it is quite an endeavor to make them understand that it will not help at all. On the contrary, it will cause urinary tract infection. It is essential that we are aware of the role of the water in our bodies.
So, I think this is a very important article and a very good lesson to all of us!
I can’t count the number of times I told my mother the same thing, Kerryanne. She had to go to the bathroom 4 times at night and also refused to drink enough during the day. I couldn’t even persuade her to then at least drink a lot in the mornings. It looks as if someone gets less thirsty when he/she drinks less and less water. Maybe it would help iuf such a person would eat a lot of water-containing vegetables?
Hi, I try to drink at least six 12oz cups of water a day. It is much easier to do in the summer months because I sweat more. Drinking water when I am not overheated has always been a challenge for me in the colder months. I can already see the flaky dry skin starting to show. Better get another glass now.
LOL, I had to look op what oz is. 🙂 1 oz is about 1/3 liters, so 6 would be 2 liters. Maybe that on the lesser side, since men should drink more than women. But you obviously have your own indication right at hand – your skin looks and feels dry. No better guidance than your own body.
Take care, Rob. 🙂
I’m living in a tropical country and everywhere you go, inside, the aircon units are on. They are great at sucking the moisture our of our bodies as well. I haven’t done a water diary, but am considering doing one now, just out of interest.
If coffee counted, that would make up nearly a litre a day (oppppps, maybe I should cut down a bit). But sitting in cafe’s and watching the world go by is one of my favorite past times 🙂
I know water is vitally important to our continued existence, and the quality of water is also very important. Not all waters are created equal.
In my own country, New Zealand, we can drink the water straight out of the kitchen tap, but I know this is not possible in many other countries.
Thanks for an informative article.
Haha, yes, maybe you should cut on the coffee a bit, Andrew. 🙂
You’re lucky to be able to drink straight from the tap. We could do that in the Netherlands as well. Over here in Spain officially you can, but it’s chlorinated water and I don’t like that taste. So we filter it in our Brita can. I refuse to buy bottled water, because I don’t want to add to the single-use plastic mountain. But the Brita works fine, even on holidays.
Wow. Thanks for the information. How do I know if I’ve drank enough water? I hope I don’t sound crude, but when I don’t drink enough water, my urine is very dark. That lets me know that I need to drink at least 8 glasses a day.
The thing is, I don’t like drinking plain water. So what I do is put lemon or lime in it. Or, I buy a water bottle that has the ability for me to put in fruit so that the water is fruit infused. A water diary is a good idea too.
I use an app on my WW (formerly Weight Watchers) to keep track.
Thanks for the info.
That doesn’t sound crude, Shalisha, why would it? It’s a normal human behavior to pee, isn’t it. And it’s exactly what I said in this other article about nutrients.
Putting little pieces of fruit in your water is a smart idea. I would alternate the lemon and lime with less acidic fruit, because of the acid attack on the teeth. LOL, that’s always the case with thinking critically about your food and drinks. There is so much to consider. 🙂
Hi Hannie. You’re right, water is absolutely essential for our bodies and all the reasons you have listed are correct. I have been dehydrated (when I was a drinker) and would feel the consequences you mentioned like a headache, sore muscles, and constipation. Once I drank enough water these issues would start to go away. I now start every morning will a glass of water to start detoxing my body. Thanks for sharing this great information!
I am sorry to hear you have been a drinker. I suppose you mean you drank alcohol? Good for you, Justin, you fought that and you got over it. That must have been hard.
I have never been a heavy drinker (isn’t it funny how we always say just ‘drinker’ and not ‘alochol drinker’. As if it is less bad then), but even quitting those daily 2 glasses of wine gave me a week of headaches back then.
My mom told me that water is the key to our body, so she always reminded us to drink enough every day. I personally drink 2L-3L water per day since my mom cultivated me to have this habit in my childhood, so I don’t get into much trouble with water.
I like to add here that we also need to take care of the temperature of the water or drink that we have each day. A high or icy temperature of the water will have bad influences on our bodies. For example, the hot drink might hurt your throat; icy drinks hurt your heart.
I love it that you talk about your Mum so much, Matt, she sounds like such a wise and nice lady. You’re lucky! And you’re addition is very good; too hot or too cold is not good. I am especially extremely careful with too cold, because it’s not just your heart that doesn’t like cold but all your organs.
This is something that I have been conscious of recently. I definitely don’t drink enough water. I have been a bit tired recently and usually lack concentration so I am going to make a serious effort to make sure I am drinking enough water.
I had been looking at the possibility of getting some nootropics but think I will start off with increasing my water intake! (The only thing is I can’t stand tepid water – maybe I just need to get used to it.)
Smart decision, Jean. Why chose the difficult path if you can start simple. And water is one of the simplest things you can think of.
Do you mean with tepid water room temperature or warm water? If you mean warm water than maybe herbal tea is a solution for you? Then you can vary different kinds which might make it more likeable? And mindset plays a great deal as well. Telling yourself you like it will also solve at least half of the problem. 🙂