Water Balance and its Importance for Good Health

Water and its importance to health:

Water is the most abundant compound present in most food. Cellular material, whether plant or animal contains a significant amount of water. Green leafy vegetables contains ≥ 90% water. Water content in relation to food material is normally termed as “moisture content”. Meat, Milk and cereals contains 50 -60%, 87- 88% and 11-13% moisture respectively.

Water balance:

Drinking large quantity of water in short period of time or not drinking for extended period of time alters fluid (water) balance in our body. Water balance means amount of water consumed through food and beverages is equal to amount of water excreted. We need to keep total amount of water in our body constant (60%). Therefore, amount of water we lose should be equal to amount of water we intake.

We take in water through food roughly 30% and beverages roughly 60% and our body also make small amount of water as result of metabolism roughly 10%. We lose 6% of our body fluid from sweating, 6% from feces and 28% by evaporation by our skin surface and breathe. 60% of water is lost through urination. Without any extra activities, illness or living in hot environment, we need approximately 2.5 L of water to compensate body fluid loss in a daily basis.

Dehydration:

It is disturbance in water balance in which more fluid is lost from the body than is absorbed resulting in reduction of circulating blood volume. There are two main causes of dehydration;

  1. Inadequate water intake
  2. Excessive fluid loss

Edema:

It is abnormal accumulation of fluid in the muscles, circulatory system and in cavities of the body which can cause severe pain. Clinically, edema manifests as swelling. In certain liver and kidney diseases, low level of albumin in the blood can contribute to fluid retention resulting edema.