Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “Water is the driving force of all nature.”
He was so right! And when you consider that water is the most important component of the human organism and that it is dispersed at all levels throughout our bodies, it’s definitely worth understanding why it’s so fundamental to us for good health.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) encourages us to eat a variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups. The guidelines also tell us to drink plenty of water! The evidence here is phenomenal, and includes sensible reasons such as added flouride in tap water, which improves dental health.
The reason water is so amazing is due to its unique physical and chemical properties that allow it to act as a medium for many of the processes that support life. The ADG explains that “It fills the spaces between the cells and helps form structures of large molecules such as protein and glycogen. Water is also required for digestion, absorption and transportation, as a solvent for nutrients, for elimination of waste products and to regulate body temperature.”
Our human bodies are made up of greater than 50% water, so it’s very important to ensure that we stay hydrated, so everything works as well as it should. The most obvious way that our body tells us we need more water is by making us feel thirsty (self-regulation), so it’s a great idea to ‘listen to your body’.
These days unfortunately if people feel thirsty they often reach for something other than just water to quench their thirst, but our body is really asking for water. Obviously on hot days and energetic days we need more fluid to top us up, however, as a general guide we should be aiming for around 30ml/kg of body weight per day of fluid.
With water as our preferred drink for this fluid, we also get quite a lot that comes packaged with other nutritious foods we consume each day such as dairy, fruit and vegetables. Tea is also a great source of fluid, and even better for you if you can choose caffeine-free varieties, as caffeine can have an unwanted stimulant effect in some people.
Drinking water is especially important for women throughout their cycle. On the Moon & You app, you will notice we encourage greater fluid intake at certain times of the month. Water is essential to help women fight the temptation of unhealthy foods and also ease the discomfort often felt around menstruation.
Here’s cheers to water, our driving force! Sally
Sally Marchini is an Accredited Practising Dietitian at Marchini Nutrition. Sally offers face-to-face and Skype personalised consultations across Australia and New Zealand to improve wellness and help avoid progression to chronic health conditions.