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Alternative NamesDiet - water; H2O
Definition Return to top
Water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. It is the basis for the fluids of the body.
Function Return to top
Water makes up more than two-thirds of the weight of the human body. Without water, humans would die in a few days. All the cells and organs need water to function.
Water serves as a lubricant and is the basis of saliva and the fluids surrounding the joints. Water regulates the body temperature through perspiration. It also helps prevent and alleviate constipation by moving food through the intestinal tract.
Food Sources Return to top
Some of the water in our body is obtained through foods we eat and some is the byproduct of metabolism. But drinking water is our main, and best, source of water.
We also obtain water through liquid foods and beverages, such as soup, milk, and juices. Alcoholic beverages and beverages containing caffeine (such as coffee, tea, and colas) are not the best choices because they have a diuretic (water-excreting) effect.
Side Effects Return to top
If adequate water is not consumed on a daily basis the body fluids will be out of balance, causing dehydration. When dehydration is severe, it can be life-threatening.
Recommendations Return to top
Six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water are generally recommended on a daily basis.Update Date: 8/8/2007 Updated by: Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD, family physician specializing in nutrition, fitness, and preventive health, St. John's Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, MO, and Assistant Clinical Professor, St. Louis University's School of Medicine, Department of Community and Family Medicine.