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The magic of water

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The magic of water: How much to drink of it and why?

Andrea Zentai, Nutritionist

Water is the basis of our existence, yet we often forget how precious clean water is for us. There is a lot to say about the diminishing water reserves on Earth, about the wasting of water and the techniques to save it but in this article, I am focusing on the connection between water consumption and personal health issues.

 

It is good to know that:

  • The water content of the body is about 5-80% in the new born baby whereas it is about 60-70% in adults (decreasing gradually with age). An average adult body of 70 kg contains about 54 l water. Water makes up 78% of the brain, 86% of the blood, 77% of the heart, 84% of the liver and 70% of the muscles.
  • We lose water through evaporation, through urine and stool and also through speaking.
  • We can consume water through drinking or eating (e.g. soups, yoghurt, kefir, fruits and vegetables).
  • People with a greater muscle mass tend to have a greater water content, too, therefore they can be more sensitive to water loss.
  • Losing 2% of your weight (meaning 1,4 kg of water in the case of an average weight of 70 kg), weakens the ability to concentrate, - an important point to keep in mind for athletes, hikers or people doing heavy physical work.
  • Headaches are often the consequence of inadequate liquid consumption.
  • Feeling hungry may simply signal that you have not had enough to drink during the day.
  • Children and elderly people are more inclined to skip or forget about drinking, and since they often give no sign of this, it can be our responsibility to provide for their daily intake need.
  • 1 l fruit juice (even if it is 100% pure) contains about 400 kcal energy and thus can easily contribute to overweight/obesity.
  • People suffering from kidney or heart problems may need to reduce their liquid intake.

The daily liquid intake need for a healthy person (age/body mass):

1-6 months of age: 190 ml 6-12 months of age: 800-1000 ml 1-2 years of age: 1100-1200 ml 2-3 years of age:1300 ml 4-8 years of age: 1600ml 9-13 years of age, boys: 2100ml 9-13 years of age, girls: 1900ml above 14 years of age: 2-2,5 l

In addition to age, the recommended amount of daily liquid intake is also influenced by the type of work we do (e.g. working in an air- conditioned office or doing physical work), the type of sport we pursue, the season of the year or illnesses that we may have. Each of these factors must be taken into consideration.

Dark urine may signify that you have not had enough to drink and it is time for resupply. When you work out, drink at least one glass of water before, during and after training, and if the workout is very intensive, get a sport/energy drink.

If you are pressed for time, you can make a quick vegetable/fruit shake or smoothie to replace not just lost water but also energy. With 1-2 teaspoons of quality, cold pressed oils, you can slow down its absorption and also contribute to the daily omega 3 fatty acid intake.

TIP:Today, there are various phone apps that can help you remember that it’s time to have a drink, or you can set for yourself an email reminder about regular liquid consumption.

As a start, drink a glass of water every two hours or take with yourself a bottle of water and measure your liquid intake with that. Even if you are not too fond of water, avoid sweetened soft drinks as they place a constant demand on the pancreas, which can very serious health consequences in the long run.

World Water Day is March 22, celebrated since 1994.

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