Biology

Health 101 – The Importance of Water: Water Facts and Health Benefits

Water quenches thirst, is crucial when taking a bath, and is important when cooking. Yet despite the fact that it is all around us and used in our daily lives, there are many facts about it that remain unknown to many people. 

What is water H2O?

Water (H2O) is a tasteless and odorless substance composed of hydrogen and oxygen that makes up 60% of our body mass. While it appears colorless, it actually has an intrinsic blue colour because of its slight absorption of wavelengths. Additionally, because of its polar nature, water is known as a universal solvent, which means it is the solvent that dissolves the most substances.

Water exists in three states

Solid: Water that exists in a solid state is known as ice. Ice is less dense than liquid water and thus floats in water.

Liquid: liquid water is wet and fluid.

Gaseous: water in gaseous state is known as water vapor. 

Unique properties of water:

Specific heat of water

Specific heat is defined as the amount of energy that is needed to heat one unit mass of a substance by one degree

Water has a high specific heat, meaning it takes a lot of heat to raise its temperature. In fact, water has the highest specific heat capacity among all liquids. This can be attributed to water’s strong hydrogen bonds.

The high specific heat capacity of water is advantageous because it allows us to maintain a normal body temperature, and it helps organisms that live in water to survive because they don’t have to put up with wide temperature fluctuations.

Absorption of infra-red radiation

Water helps moderate Earth’s climate because its high capacity to absorb the sun’s infra-red radiation allows water bodies to act as heat reservoirs.

Melting point and boiling point

Water’s melting point is 0 ℃ while its boiling point is 100 ℃, this allows water to exist in a liquid state over a wide range of temperatures

High heat of vaporization

Heat of vaporization is defined as the amount of energy needed to change a substance from liquid to gaseous state. Water changes to a gaseous state at 100 ℃; this high heat of vaporization allows the water that makes up our body not to evaporate. Additionally it causes the water that makes up ecosystems to maintain its liquid state even in high temperatures.

Less dense solid phase:

Ice is less dense than liquid water, meaning that it floats in water. This allows water ecosystems to survive because when water freezes, ice floats to the top, allowing deep water ecosystems to survive under this ice

Why do we need water?: Health Benefits of Water

Water doesn’t just quench your thirst, it does a  permits us to survive and live well by doing the following:

  • It keeps your body temperature normal and prevent it from overheating by sweating.
  • It keeps your tissues moist: drinking water helps you keep optimum level of moisture in crucial areas such as your bones, brain and blood.
  • It protects your spinal cord and acts as a tissue for your joints
  • Water helps your body remove waste through defecation, urination, and perspiration. It can also help with relieving constipation.
  • Water is used in digestion: Saliva is used to break down food and dissolve nutrients. Additionally, water is used to digest fiber.
  • Dehydration can make you feel tired and drain your energy. Drink plenty of water to stay energized.
  • Water can also help with weight maintenance and weight loss because it causes the body to feel satiated and full instead of overeating.
  • Some studies have also shown that drinking water to boost muscle exercise performance.

How much water should we drink?

The amount of water you need is influenced by many variables, including the following:

  • Exercise: if you perform any activities that make you sweat, you should drink more fluids to replenish the lost water.
  • Environment: high altitudes contribute to dehydration and warm climates make you sweat, thus increasing your need for water intake.
  • Health: Conditions such as diarrhea and fever can cause you to lose water. 
  • Pregnancy or breast-feed: women who are pregnant or/and brest-feeding need additional fluid intake.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has determines that the average healthy adult living in a temperate climate requires the following fluid intake:

Men: Around 3.7 liters of fluid

Women: Around 2.7 liters of fluid

Approximately 20% of your fluid intake will come from food containing water. The rest will come from beverages – either water or other drinks containing water.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day! And have a nice day! 😀

Works Cited

  1. BoundlessGeneral Microbiology, et al. “2.2C: Water’s High Heat Capacity.” Biology LibreTexts, 19 Nov. 2019, bio.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Introductory_and_General_Biology/Book:_General_Biology_(Boundless)/ 2:_The_Chemical_Foundation_of_Life/2.2:_Water/2.2C:_Water’s_High_Heat_Capacity.
  2. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “What Is a Universal Solvent?” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 7 May 2019, http://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-universal-solvent-605762.
  3. Laskey, ByJen, and Elizabeth Millard. “Functions of Water: Health Benefits: Everyday Health.” EverydayHealth.com, http://www.everydayhealth.com/water-health/water-body-health.aspx.
  4. Myers, ByWyatt. “10 Myths and Facts About Water – Diet and Nutrition Center – Everyday Health.” EverydayHealth.com, www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/10-myths-and-facts-about-water.aspx.
  5. Siyavula  The Chemistry Of Water https://www.siyavula.com/read/science/grade-11/intermolecular-forces/04-intermolecular-forces-02
  6. The States of Water: Solid, Liquid, Gas, ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/mtr/cld/dvlp/wtr.rxml.
  7. “Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 6 Sept. 2017, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256.
  8. Zumdahl, Steven S. “Water.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 27 Jan. 2020, http://www.britannica.com/science/water.

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