Water is the main constituent of our body, more than 60% of the volume of our body is made up of water! It is an essential nutrient for human life that contributes to virtually all body functions.

Water is the main component of the human body, being the main constituent of cells and tissues. Water has different vital functions, namely, in the physiological processes of digestion, absorption and elimination of non-digestible metabolic waste, it has a direct action on the maintenance of body temperature, it acts as a nutrient transport system, it is also responsible for maintaining the volume vascular and allow blood circulation, among others. In this sense, all systems and organs need adequate hydration to function properly. In the event of severe dehydration, all systems and functions are compromised.

Water has unique properties as a solvent for ionic compounds and solutes such as glucose and amino acids, and it also acts as a carrier and plays an essential role in cellular homeostasis, because it transports nutrients to cells and removes waste from cells. It works as the medium in which all transport systems work allowing exchanges between extracellular fluids, cells, interstitial fluid and capillaries. It also plays an important role in thermoregulation, since the ability of water to vaporize through heat allows the loss of body heat, even when the ambient temperature is higher than the body temperature. In these circumstances, the phenomenon of sweating is observed in which the evaporation of water from the surface of the skin is a very efficient way to lose heat.

Regarding the values ​​of adequate water intake, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stipulated that it should be 2.5 L for men and 2.0 L for women. These recommendations do not refer exclusively to water intake, but also to other drinks and food or culinary preparations, which have water in their composition. However, given the great variability of water content in food, it is easier to present reference values ​​for beverages to the population, so the Institute of Hydration and Health recommends the consumption of 1.9 and 1.5 L for men and women, respectively.

Useful tips to increase water consumption:

Always have a bottle of water with you;
Prefer water over sugary or other drinks;
Flavor your water with fruits and aromatic herbs;
Opt for unsweetened teas and infusions;
Choose water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and cooked vegetables, raw salads and soups.

References:

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Cient C. Hídratação para os portugueses. Conselho Científico do Instituto de Hidratação e Saúde. 2010;

Ritz P, Berrut G. The importance of good hydration for day-to-day health. Nutrition Rev. 2005; 65: S6-S13;

Arnaud M Noakes T Should humans be encouraged to drink water to excess? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011; 65, 875-876;

 Haussinger D. The role of celular hydration in the regulation of cell function. Biochem Journal. 1996; 313: 687-710.;

 Popkin B. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutr. Rev. 2010; 68(8): 439-458; 13

Szinnai G, Schachinger H, Arnaud MJ, Linder L, Keller U Effect of water deprivation on cognitive-motor performance in healthy men and women. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2005;. 289, R275–R280;

Jéquier E, Constant F. Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hidration. European J Clinical Nutrition 2010; 64, 115-23. 3.

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