The main functions of water in the body
Human body is made up largely of water. It serves vital functions:
Water is essential for cells to function properly: it enters into the composition of the cells.
Water helps to keep dehydration at bay and prevents nasty symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and dry skin. Most people take on board enough water throughout the day by drinking when they feel thirsty and drinking with their meals. But there are some groups of individuals which may need a little more encouragement, including the elderly and the young. Keeping yourself hydrated doesn’t mean you should only drink plain water. Instead, drinks including squash, tea and coffee all count as do watery fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and cucumber.
Chemical and metabolic reactions
By enabling hydrolysis reactions, water participates in the biochemical breakdown of what we eat (proteins, lipids and carbohydrates). This is one of many reactions in which water is involved.
The first process of digestion is chewing – a process which involves saliva. The basis of saliva is water and helps to soften our food ready to be swallowed alongside enzymes which dissolve minerals and nutrients. Water helps the body to digest soluble fibre. Soluble fibre includes pectin’s and beta glucans – found in oats and fruit. In the presence of water, this fibre dissolves easily and aids your digestion by helping to form soft stools which are easy to pass.
As well as keeping us hydrated, water helps to keep our tissues moist. Our eyes, nose and mouth can be prevented from feeling dry by keeping the body hydrated through adequate water intake. Other areas of the body which can benefit from this include the brain, blood and bones. Furthermore, our joints such as our knees, ankles and elbows are kept lubricated and cushioned by water, and it also keeps our spinal cord protected.(agrilearner)
Transport of nutrients
Water as a main constituent of blood contributes to the transport of nutrients to the cells. In deed the nutrients are transported by the blood.
Body temperature regulation
Water has a large heat capacity which helps limit changes in body temperature in a warm or a cold environment. Water enables the body to release heat when ambient temperature is higher than body temperature. we begin to sweat, and the evaporation of water from the skin surface cools the body very efficiently.(agrilearner)
Generally, you should aim to drink around 1.5 litres of water per day, but we are all different. You know yourself better than anyone and will know if you feel thirsty or dehydrated. Remember, if you participate in vigorous exercise, have a fever or an illness such as vomiting and diarrhoea, you will need to replace the lost fluids. Likewise, if you are pregnant or nursing you may want to speak to your GP about increasing your fluid intake particularly if you are breastfeeding because your body will use more water than normal.
The obvious answer for this is, of course, the process of urination and defecation. However, adequate water intake also ensures waste is removed through sweating. The liver, kidneys and intestines also require water to flush waste from them. You may be able to prevent constipation (this is not scientifically proven) by drinking lots of water as this helps to soften your stools and facilitates the movement of food through the intestinal tract.
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