Importance Of Water In Nutritional Health

Image by MJM in Unsplash

No matter how we want to look at it, water is life’s solvent. All the thousands of cells in our body, with the exception of fat and bone cells, are dissolved in water. The functions of those cells would be hindered if water contents in the body dropped below a certain level because the cells would dry out and die.

Water is also important for food preparation, cooking, general sanitation, bathing and drinking.

Water, The Main Component In Blood

Water is the main component in blood that is responsible for transporting many nutrients and other molecules throughout the body. Nutrients such as glucose and amino-acids are highly soluble in water and are distributed along the body via blood circulation.

Although nutrients such as dietary fats and Vitamins A, D & E are not water-soluble but have to be wrapped in special particles called lipoproteins, nevertheless, water is the base for most chemical reactions in the body.

Water Content In An Average Healthy Adult

Water has an important role in maintaining electrolyte balance in our body. An average male adult consists of 60% water, while an adult female is about 50% water content. The percentage depends on body weight. This shows us how our body is reliant on water for important and essential functions. Indeed we cannot survive without water for long. Water also maintains body temperature because of high heat capacity.

 

Daily Water Consumption

Daily water consumption of an average adult hovers around two litres per day, mostly from the foods and drinks.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The high end of water contents are fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, milk, and fizzy drinks that contain about 80% water. While potatoes chips, crackers and chocolate on the low end contain less than 10% water.

Water Loss

Water is lost from our body via urine, exhaled air, stools and sweat. Excess water loss can lead to hydration if not immediately compensated by water intake. Low water intake can increase the risk of kidney dysfunction as well as high blood sugar.

Water loss through stools is about 5 ounces, (150mls), but more in cases of diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal infections. This is the main reason diarrhoea is life-threatening in children and the elderly.

Water loss through the skin is via exhaled air (breathing out), and sweat, and can vary as high as five litres. However, water loss through breathing over the course of twenty-four hours hovers 300–400 MLS.

The kidney can adjust the water elimination in the body in order to maintain water balance in the body.

Water Intoxication

Water intoxication is a condition in which due to excessive water intake, the balance of electrolytes balance in the body is well below a safe level. Water intoxication can result in a disturbance in the brain functions and give rise to neurological symptoms. This is common among sportspeople.

Water Content In Common Foods

90–100% — Vegetable soups. soymilk, tomatoes, cabbage, strawberries, asparagus, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce and carrots.

80–90% — Pineapple, apple, coca-cola, orange, juices, milk, wine, yoghurt, and beer.

70–80% — Cottage cheese, potatoes, eggs, shrimp, turkey breast, steak, pasta (cooked), tofu and coleslaw.

60–70% — Feta cheese, ice cream, lentils (prepared), corn, eel, kidney beans (cooked), soybean (cooked), and bratwurst.

50–60% — Cream cheese, caviar, bean burrito (Taco Bell), anchovy (connecto), and hot-dog.

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40–50% — Falafel, meatballs, whipped cream, bacon, cherry pie and cheeseburger.

30–40% — File dough, gruyere cheese, french fries, pita bread, bagel, whole wheat bread, pepperoni, pizza and chorizo.

20–30% — Honey, parmesan, cheese, sponge cake, mayonnaise (regular), buttermilk, and biscuit.

20–30% —honey, parmesan cheese, sponge cake, mayonnaise (regular), butter, milk biscuit.

10–20% — Croissant, baklava, butter, pecan pie, brownie doughnut, quinoa (uncooked).

0–10% — hazelnuts, oats, olive oil, cashews, potato chips, chocolate, granola bar, popcorn, table sugar, crackers and peanut butter.

Bottled Water

Bottled water is basically water in a bottle, however not all bottled water is the same. In the UK, where I live, (and I want to believe this applies to EU, as well), bottled water can be called mineral water, if it is bottled at source, and has undergone little or no treatment.

Mineral Water

Mineral water varies greatly in composition, as it depends on the area where it is sourced. For instance, Evian from France, and Spa from Belgium has very low mineral content. In contrast to San Pelligrino from Italy, and Contrex from France are highly mineralised. One litre of Contrex contains 500mg of calcium, which half RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of calcium for an adult.

This indicates that consumption of some bottled water can contribute to our RDA of some minerals.

Some highly mineralised water also contains magnesium, bicarbonate and a small amount of sodium. A good example is Vichy Saint-Yorre from France contains about 1.7gm of sodium.

Popular bottled water like Dasani, Aquafina and Nestle use local municipal water which they treat by reverse osmosis before adding some minerals.

Tap Water

Tap water can vary greatly between one country to another. However provision of safe and clean water is a great cause of concern in developing countries, which result in higher infant mortality rate.

I must mention the effort of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the provision of safe and clean drinking water in developing countries.

In developed countries, tap water meets a high hygiene standard and is perfect to drink, although the mineral content of tap water will depend on each country, and where the water is sourced. In most cities and large towns, tap water comes from rivers, lakes, wells and reservoirs.

On average, the calcium level in tap water exceeds the levels in popular bottled water like Dasani, Aquafina, and Nestle, but much lower than those of high value bottled water like Perrier, Vittel, and San Pelligrino.

In the USA, one can taste and smell chlorine in tap water in some states, so some use filtration to enhance the taste. So apart from taste, there’s no reason to choose bottled water over tap water.

Can You Boil Tap Water?

Boiling tap water before drinking can kill the micro-organism that are present from the pipes that bring in the water to your house, it will however concentrate the minerals and chemicals used in purification of the water.

Rain Water

Rainwater is water fallen as rain and collected in a reservoir. In some rural areas where water supply is low or irregular, people rely on rainwater for their day to day use. Rainwater is slightly acidic because the water combines with the carbon dioxide in the air

Depending on where you harvest your rainwater, and how often you do it, rainwater can be perfect for drinking, as it is generally pure and soft. However, some people still buy sophisticated rainwater purifier to be sure.

For example, frequent collection of rainwater via your roof will be cleaner than less frequent ones. This is because of the roof would have some sediments and dust from the air. What people do is to allow the first batch to run off, before starting to collect from clearer and cleaner surfaces. Plants thrive better if regularly watered with rainwater than with tap water.

Hard Water

Hard water is water that is highly mineralised, especially with calcium, sulphates, magnesium and bicarbonates. Most times, this mineralisation occurs naturally as water is filtered through lakes, rocks, sand and riverbeds. That is one reason most well water is hard because it is collected from deep sand/floor bed and has passed through lengthy mineralisation.

In the UK, where I live, some household water is hard, depending on the area supplied. There has been controversy regarding how safe is drinking hard water. The water research centre concluded that hard water is safe to drink, and has no significant health risk. The limescale that results from using hard water is, however, damaging to household utensils and some fitting.

If you do live in the hard water area, and you prefer soft water, you can boil hard water to turn it into soft before drinking.

If you love to eat fermented foods, it is better to use soft water to ferment foods, especially organic, non-GMO foods. I discovered that hard water does not ferment organic non-GMO grounded corn.

Sea Water

Seawater is basically water from the ocean or sea. Seawater covers about 70% of the Earth surface.

Before the advent of plastic that is found all over the sea, seawater is rich in salt, (about 25%), and smaller inorganic materials and gases.

It is generally not advisable to drink seawater straight because of its high salt content unless it has gone through a process called ‘’DESALINATION’’, to remove the salt and other impurities.

In some remote part of the world, seawater is the only source of water, so the desalination is useful to them.

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