Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Agent
People can live without food for nearly eight weeks as long as they have water to keep them well-hydrated. How long a human can survive also depends on what size they are, their general health, and the weather. How long we can live without water, though, is an entirely different matter. Under ideal conditions, most people could probably survive 3-5 days. However, if it is hot and there is no water, dehydration can set in within an hour, then body temperature would rise and the result would be heat stroke. If not treated, heat stroke can progress to coma and death.
Drink Water! Photo Credits: Angela Hinkle, Escambia County
Okay, so we know water is essential for life. But what does it do for our bodies to keep us healthy?
moistens the tissues of our mouth, eyes, and nose
regulates our body temperature
lubricates our joints
carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells
flushes out waste
dissolves nutrients so our body can use them
Water is so important that most human bodies consist of between 50% and 75% water. This includes our blood, bones, muscles, and even lungs. Our body loses water when we go to the bathroom, sweat, sneeze, cry, and even breathe. So we must constantly replenish our water supply. Most of us in the United States are quite lucky because we have quick and easy access to clean, safe drinking water.
About 80% of our water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages. Some experts will say we need more, some less, but on average, most health professionals recommend drinking about eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. The other 20% of our water intake generally comes from food. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources for water, yet all food groups have some water content. The United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines 2010 suggests we drink water instead of sugary drinks and that half our plate should be made up of fruits and vegetables. Go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov to learn more.
Water keeps us alive and healthy; it is readily available and cost effective; and it is a true thirst quencher. So whether it is from the faucet, a glass, a pitcher, a water fountain, or a bottle, drink up. Water -- it is that good!