Water the Forgotten Nutrient
~ December 2001 No.141 ~
It is a part of our diet to which we don´t pay much attention . In fact, if you were to list the things you ate yesterday you probably wouldn’t even bother to mention it. But our bodies can’t do without it for long. It’s water. Good old H2O.
Water is not often considered as a nutrient, like vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats or carbohydrates, and yet, on a weight basis, we have more water in our body than anything else. We get our water in its pure form or as part of just about every food we eat. Even the driest cracker contains some water. The problem is not when we get too much water - in that case the volume of urine voided just increases - but when we get too little water. Everything from constipation through to cancer has been linked to an inadequate daily intake of water. Almost every article you read on how to keep your skin soft and supple emphasizes the need for drinking several glasses of water a day. Dehydration is an obvious problem for high intensity athletes, and the number of hikers treated for dehydration while hiking in and around the Grand Cannon in the Unites States numbers in the hundreds per year.
How much water should you drink? That´s a good question; unfortunately there is no easy answer. There are tables to tell you how much protein you need per day, how many calories or vitamin C, but not water. Part of the reason is the variability from individual to individual. Other factors such as the climate in which you live, physical activity, age, state of health and body size all influence how much water you need to replenish each day.
Unfortunately, the purity of our water is more and more of a concern. Most of us are dependent on others for the quality of our drinking water. Recent events in some locations have shown contaminants in our drinking water, both chemical and microbial, can lead to health problems and in some cases death. Contaminants include copper, lead, aluminium, asbestos, nitrates, benzene, lindane, Cryptosporidium, and fecal coliforms (only a partial list ).
We are made of water. We can´t survive without it. Clean safe water is an essential part of our diets.
|Calories in a glass of water:||0|
|% water in human body:||55 to 75; babies 74%|
|% water in human embryo:||80|
|Portion of body weight as water:||2/3|
|whole wheat cracker:||2.7|
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Publication
Water: The Nutrient