The All Important Nutrient: H2O

Good news!  This week we are taking a look at a major nutrient that is completely calorie-free!  This is a nutrient that everyone must have to survive.  In fact, you can only last about three days without it.  What is this all-important nutrient?  Water!

Most of us probably think of water as just another drink option with a meal.  You might already know that 75% of your body is water, but do you know how much water you lose in a day through normal activity?  Nine cups!  That’s right, we lose approximately nine cups of water per day through our breath, sweat, urine, and bowel movements; strenuous activity can cause even more fluid loss.

If our bodies are mostly made up of water, you can imagine how important it is to replace what we lose each day.  Water is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients in the body; helping medications to work properly; preventing constipation; regulating body temperature; and keeping skin, eyes and mouth moist.

Not drinking enough water can result in dehydration, which has serious health effects such as: increased risk of kidney stones; increased urinary tract infections; hospitalization; confusion; convulsions; and cardiac arrest.  Signs of dehydration include thirst and dry mouth; fatigue; headache; high body temperature; increased breathing rate and rapid pulse; dark yellow urine; and skin that stays in the pinched position.

The best way to get enough water every day is to drink plain, old-fashioned water.  You can also get water through other beverages such as juice, milk and sports drinks.  Just be sure to watch for extra calories in sugary drinks.  Fruits and vegetables are another source of water, and you get the added benefits of vitamins and fiber.

Drinking water is not an option for good health.  It is a requirement.  Be sure to drink water with meals and throughout the day.

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