Joseph R. Anticaglia MD
Medical Advisory Board
What do puppies, tomatoes and human beings have in common? They all need water to survive. And it doesn’t make any difference if it’s well water, rain water or tap water. Water is life’s remarkable, indispensible nutrient. Animals and plants can’t exist without water.
Most of us living in industrialized countries don’t give water a second thought. We put on a pot of coffee in the morning, perhaps have a glass of orange juice, eat breakfast and go on our way.
We seldom, if ever, think about how water eventually gets into our kitchens or bathrooms; nor do we think about the body’s dependence on water to survive. Water, however, performs many indispensible actions to keep us healthy.
The “7” Functions of Water
- Transportation: Helps transport vital nutrients and oxygen to cells, tissues and organs (water is a significant constituent of blood).
- Waste Removal: Gets rid of toxins and wastes through perspiration, urination and bowel movements
- Temperature: Water regulates the body’s temperature through perspiration. The hypothalamus works with the skin, sweat glands and blood vessels to regulate the body’s temperature. When the body is in a hotter environment, it cools itself through perspiration. When it’s in a cold environment, the body conserves energy.
- Lubricant: It lubricates joints and, the water-mucus, lubricates the back of the throat, the nose, the respiratory system and the digestive tract.
- Shock Absorber: Water protects tissues and body organs by acting as a shock absorber for the brain, spinal cord, eyes. The amniotic fluid cushions the fetus against shock.
- Solvent: It dissolves glucose, amino acids, vitamins minerals and other substances so that the body can use their energy
- Chemical Reactions: It’s involved in many biochemical reactions. The cells take in nutrients and move out wastes and by products.
For the average person, drinking water or beverages when you’re thirsty and with meals, should be enough to satisfy the body’s fluid needs. However, your body needs more fluids if you have a fever, live in hot climates, or are more physically active.
Also of note is that many foods contain water For example, peaches, melons, plums, broth soups and tomatoes have a high water content which contribute to one’s fluid intake.
Capitalizing on the high water content of certain foods, Barbara Rolls, PhD (Professor of nutrition at Penn State University) has written a series of books with the title “Volumetrics” in them. One of her suggestions is to eat foods with high water and fiber content that make you “feel full”. The hope is that you consume fewer calories and over time lose weight.
The takeaway from all of this is that water is the indispensible nutrient. It’s ubiquitous—it works in every cell, tissue and organ of the body. We can survive for just 3 to 7 days without water, yet, we often treat it as a throw away item. Water makes up about 60% of the body’s total weight and we need a safe, daily, sufficient supply of it to remain healthy.
Water — Its Importance and Source; Australian Gov’t, Dept. of Health, November 2010 CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Healthy Water; Oct 4,2016 EPA—Environmental Protection Agency; Water on Tap; December 2009 CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Drinking Water, FAQ; June 29, 2012
Of all the water on the surface of the earth, only one percent is drinkable. Ninety seven percent is salty and not drinkable and the rest is found in ice caps or glaciers.”
This article is intended solely as a learning experience. Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options.