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Laura Smith

HLTH 1020

Research Paper


Water is a very important necessity of life and a nutrient all on its own, by helping every

cell in our body to function properly. Every cell, tissue and organ contains some water and

makes up 50% to 70% of the human body. Humans can live for several weeks without food

intake, but we can survive only a few days (if not sooner due to circumstances) without water

intake. Getting enough water every day is important for our health. An average person gets about

20% of their water through food and by drinking water. Water has some astounding properties;

its a versatile solvent, cools and lowers body temperature and act as a lubricant to protect our

internal organs.

Water is known as universal solvent because its capable of dissolving more substances

than any other liquid. This property of water is important to every living thing on earth. Meaning

that wherever water goes, through the air, the ground, or through our bodies, it takes along

chemicals, minerals and nutrients. Its chemical composition and physical attributes make it an

exceptional solvent. Water molecules create a polar arrangement of oxygen and hydrogen atoms.

Hydrogen has the positive electrical charge and the oxygen has a negative charge. This reaction

allows the water molecule to become attracted to different types of molecules such as sodium

and chloride. Because so many compositions dissolve in water, it creates a perfect medium for

the body where a chemical reaction takes place. When carbohydrates, lipids and proteins are

metabolized as a source of energy, water becomes a by-product. Water is an ideal transporter to

many chemical reactions of human metabolism. In this case, metabolism of nutrients create

waste, which can dissolve in water and exit the body.

Body temperature is regulated by water. As water changes our body temperature slowly,

it has the sustainability to hold heat. Since the human body is 50% to 70% water, it requires a lot

of energy to change body temperature. When water molecules are charged, it makes them

attracted to each other. This force is strong and energy is required during heating to separate

water molecules. When the body is overheated, the body releases energy and produces

perspiration fluids. As the perspiration evaporates, heat is removed from the skin cooling the

body in a process (Wardlaws, pg. 305) As the temperature increases, the bodys skin blood

vessels become larger allowing more water to pass through perspiration. Approximately 1 liter of

perspiration evaporates is equivalent to 600 kilocalories of energy. About 60% of energy is

turned into body heat and the other 40% is formed into energy cells. Perspiration is the major

way to prevent rise of body temperature. If the heat cannot dissipate, the body temperature could

rise enough to prevent inefficient functions and ultimately death.

Water intake is essential to supporting healthy body and mind. Water for hydration is not

stored in the body, so its important to maintain hydration as much as possible. Water is

continually lost through perspiration, respiration and excretion. To maintain a proper hydration

through fluids and food, the Adequate Intake (AI) for intake of water is 2.7 liters for women, 3.7

liters for men. For just fluid intake itself, 2.2 liters for women and 3 liters for men. Keeping your

body hydrated helps maintain optimum levels of moisture for not only your body but also in the

blood, bones and brain. Water is very vital to the brains health, functions and helps protect the

spinal cord and acts as a lubricant and cushion to your joints. A few examples of hydration

protection for your body include secretions that are water based are produced by the digestive
tract which includes; respiratory tract, urogenital tract, eyes and skin. Saliva is a lubricant which

allows food to travel through the esophagus down to the stomach. Mucus provides protection by

coating the digestive tract with fluid. The lungs are coated as well with a mucus the aids in

important immune functions. Water is also the root of amniotic fluid which functions as a shock

absorber surrounding a growing fetus in a mothers womb. Without acceptable availability of

water, the ability of the body to functions and produce these critical secretions would be limited.

Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating and digestion, its important

to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. The amount of water you

need depends on a variety of factors including your climate, physical activity and whether youre

experiencing an illness or have any health problems. Simply drinking water can prevent

dehydration. Dehydrating is a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change,

causes body to overheat, constipation and kidney stones. A person loses 1% - 2% of body weight

in fluids which then will trigger thirst. Thirst is a great indicator of your hydration status and if

you are thirsty, unfortunately you are already dehydrated. Symptoms that can occur are mild

feeling tired, dizzy and headaches. When your body reaches 4% loss of body weight in fluids

your muscles start to lose strength and the central nervous system- memory, patiences and

reaction time- are negatively affected. By 10% reduction of fluids, your body become weak with

no tolerance of heat and can lead to heat stroke, which is deadly. An easy way to determine water

intake is to observe urine color. If your hydration is adequate, urine should be clear or pale

yellow. The best way to avoid dehydration is to stay ahead of your thirst by drinking water

throughout your day.

As you know by now, water is essential and vital for everyone. Besides the importance

mentioned above, there is a continuous list of health benefits water provides. Benefits which
include maximizing physical performance, energy levels, constipation relief and weight loss.

Depending on the source of water intake, water can contain certain minerals, such as calcium and

magnesium, which can piece an imperative role in your health. By recognizing and reading

labels or request tap-water reports from your city, you can become aware of the mineral content

in the water you drink. Aside from the obvious glass of water, you can also get the critical

nutrient from food. Vegetable like lettuce, cucumber, tomato and celery and fruits like oranges,

pineapples and strawberries also have high water content. Whenever possible, its smart to

choose a whole fruit or vegetable to aide in your water intake.

Educating adults and children about the important nutrients water provides us is critical

for our health. Creating a habit of drinking the AI recommendations for water is a great first step

to becoming hydrated and healthy. By maintaining proper water intake through healthy foods

and water can create a balanced healthy lifestyle.

Citation Sources:

Wardlaws. Contemporary Nutrient. Fifth Edition. pg 304-307 & 328

Live Strong. Com -

Center of Disease Control -

United States Geological Survey -