Water – An Essential Nutrient
Water is a basic requirement for all living things. Water is the largest, single component of our diet and body.
There are six essential nutrients, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. Water performs specific functions in the body and deficiency and toxicity signs develop when too little or too much is consumed.
- Water plays a key role in energy formation.
- It is needed to “carry” nutrient to cells.
- Waste products and toxic substances are removed from cells and the body by water.
- It helps to regulate the body temperature by transferring heat to skin and releases the heat by perspiration.
- Water provides a medium for many chemical reaction that occur in the body.
Besides these above major functions water also helps in the following ways:-
- Water helps to keep your skin and hair fresh and moisturized instead of dry and dehydrated.
- Water has also been seen to help in mental concentration specially when working with numbers and calculations.
- Water is very important for all muscular movements and those with low water consumption are seen to suffer from muscular cramping and pain.
- Ketone bodies, a waste product formed in the body during weight reduction must be flushed out with a good intake of water so all those on weight reduction diets require a larger intake of water.
- Water helps to raise your calorie burning capacity through the day. When a person consumes less water than required they will be going through their day in a dehydrated tired, lethargic manner. In this condition all your muscle movements will be slower and therefore you will burn fever calories. This is similar to a plant which is not watered adequately and is dry and drooping. So just by drinking water you can be more active and move faster and burn more calories.
We would recommend that children are made to be conscious of water intake so that it becomes a habit from a young age. Today as there are so many aerated drinks available and many restaurants give it free with a meal we need to specially encourage children to choose water instead of these drinks and try to keep a count of their water intake.
Children 5-10 years of age - 1-1.5 liters
10-13 years - 2 liters
13 and above – 2.5 – 3 liters
After age 13 there is a lot of hormone change and plenty of water can help children keep their skin clear and avoid body and mouth odours.
Also it is after this age that they put on weight so the water is very important. Those specially training in sports for long hours daily, may require 3-4 liters. We do not recommend more that this amount. Also if any health problems requires a water restriction, then please follow your doctors advice.