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Why Water is an Essential Nutrient

As a Naturopath one of my biggest tips for staying healthy is to maintain an adequate daily water intake. Why? Because water is an essential nutrient needed for numerous bodily functions. Here’s a few of the key ones.

Maintaining Body Fluids

Water accounts for approximately 75 percent of our body weight. It’s found in our body fluids including blood plasma, intracellular fluid and extracellular fluid. These fluids surround our cells and facilitate nutrient exchange and waste removal. Fluids are lost throughout the day, especially during rigorous exercise or bouts of illness, so drinking water to replenish them is important.

Detoxification and Waste Removal

Water transports toxins and waste products away from your cells and into the liver and kidneys so they can be filtered and broken down. It’s the main component of sweat and urine which eliminate toxins from your system. Water also prevents constipation, supporting the removal of waste from your digestive system.

Regulating Body Temperature

Water is a perfect buffer against sudden temperature changes because it can absorb a lot of heat. In warmer temperatures blood rises to your skin to release heat and sweat is formed to cool the body. In cooler weather body heat is preserved by moving blood away from your skin and inward towards your vital organs.

Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

Water is used throughout your gastrointestinal system to aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Water is the main component of saliva which contains enzymes that break down solid food. It also helps to dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients so they can be more easily absorbed by your cells.

Spinal Cord, Joint and Tissue Protection

Water is one of the main components of cartilage and synovial fluid which form the protective layer between your joint bones. Joint pain often occurs when the cartilage has been weakened or damaged leading to inflammation and stiffness. Staying hydrated supports production of synovial fluid and can prevent cartilage deterioration.

How Much Water Do You Need?

Our water needs can change based on our age, gender, and lifestyle however the typical recommendation for adults is 2 Litres of water (or 8 glasses) per day. If you’re exercising you should drink an additional 500mL of water for every 30 minutes of exercise.

Getting Enough

Our daily water needs can be met by drinking 2L of water along with the water we get from food. Drinking a big glass of water on waking is a great way to flush your system and boost your daily intake. Keeping a 600mL glass water bottle handy is also a great way to drink more water. Filling up at least 3 times throughout the day will get you well on your way to your daily 2L.

Happy drinking 🙂

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