Food and Nutrition Notes

The Importance of Water in the Human Body

The Eatwell Guide (a guide created by the NHS) states that we should consume between six and eight glasses of water a day. If each glass is approximately 220ml, this means our daily fluid intake should be between 1200ml and 1600ml.

Hydration and Advice

Fluid intake is important to achieve good health. It is important to develop a habit of regular fluid intake without waiting for thirst to intervene. One way to ensure good hydration is to always include a drink with each meal. For example, breakfast is a good opportunity to rehydrate after the night’s sleep. There must be a balance between input and output of water otherwise dehydration occurs.

Every day we need to replace the water we have lost through our normal body functions. If we exercise regularly we lose more water due to perspiration. We need to drink lots of water (more than 3 glasses) before, during and after exercise.

In addition to this, children are particularly at risk whenever it comes to dehydration as they do not always recognise the early signs of thirst and are less heat tolerant than adults, and therefore lose more water through sweat. Children are more susceptible to dehydration in warmer climates, and care should be taken to ensure that they drink enough water.

Furthermore, as people age, their thirst sensation declines. Older adults should sip water throughout the day and drink things such as tea or coffee regularly to avoid dehydration. However, remember that all people (the elderly in particular) should be mindful of their tannin consumption and the impact this may have on the iron absorption in their body (tannins hinder iron absorption and are found in tea and coffee).

Functions in the Body

Water has a variety of incredibly important functions in the body. Water:

Sources of Water

Drinks are an obvious source of water in our diets, but there are also many foods with high percentages of water, such as: