No preservatives. No sugar. No acids. No fat. No calories. Essential for the survival of living things. Universal solvent. Amphoteric. Exists in all 3 states: solid, liquid, gas naturally. The only fluid in the world that can make all these claims is…WATER.
Water make up approximately 65% of the human body. The brain and heart are composed of approximately 73% water, lungs 83%, skin 64%, muscles and kidneys 79% and blood plasma 92%. Even bones contain 31% water!
Water is important for optimizing activity, energy levels, cognition and moods.(1-3) Dehydration contributes to fatigue, lethargy and confusion. Even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can significantly affect function.
Water sustains bodily functions. Water helps to regulate body temperature via sweating and respiration. Nutrients from foods are broken down with the help of water, metabolized and transported by blood to all parts of the body. Wastes are removed from the body with the help of water. Water serves as cushioning and shock absorber for the eyes, brain, spinal cord and body joints. Saliva - essential for eating, talking, immune defence and comfort, consists primarily of water. Without water, our skin would be as dry as a burnt potato crisp and useless as a protective barrier.
Without food, humans can survive for months. Without water, humans can survive only a matter of days.
According to Australia’s National Health & Medical Research Council Infant Feeding Guidelines (4), exclusively breastfed babies up to the age of 6mths do not need to be given water.
For infants up to 12mths of age, water is recommended to be boiled and cooled. Children 1-10yo require approximately 4-5 cups of water per day.
According to New South Wale’s statistics, 55% of boys and 46% of girls in Yr 6 drink more than one cup of soft drink a week and this increases to over 68% by Yr 8. Establishing a water drinking habit from a young age will provide a lifetime benefit. Children who are not offered regular sweetened drinks at an early age, are less likely to prefer sweetened drinks as they grow. Reducing the intake of sweetened drinks over time will contribute to better health, lower risk of obesity and lower risk of dental decay.(5-8) If you are curious about how much sugar is actually found in some common drinks, check out Flinders University’s video.
Water is the natural choice for good health. Here’s 5 ways to make water drinking more interesting:
1. Drink water from a special cup / glass
2. Drink water with straws
3. Add natural food colouring to plain water
4. Make colour ice-cubes by freezing water that you’ve added natural food colouring to and add these "colour gems" to plain water
5. Add a grain or two of xylitol to make water taste sweet (unlike other sugars such as glucose, xylitol does not lead to tooth decay, because xylitol cannot be used by decay-causing bacteria to produce tooth damaging acids).
Benton D, Jenkins KT, Watkins HT, Young HA. Minor degree of hypohydration adversely influences cognition: a mediator analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2016; 104(3): 603-612. Doi: 10.3945/acjn.116.132605.
Pross N, Demazieres A, Girard N, Barnouin R, Santoro F, Chvillotte E, Klein A, Le Bellego L. Influence of progressive fluid restriction on mood and physiological markers of dehydration in women. Br J Nutr 2013; 109(2): 313-321. Doi: 10.1017/Sooo7114512001080.
Armstrong LE, Ganio MS, Casa DJ, Lee EC, McDermott BP, Klau JF, Jimenez L, Le Bellego L, Chevillotte E, Lieberman HR. Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. J Nutr 2012; 142(2): 382-388. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.142000.
National Health and Medical Research Council (2012) Infant Feeding Guidelines: Summary. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.
Keller A, Buher Della Torres S. Sugar-sweetened bevarages and obesity among children and adolescents: A review of systematic literature reviews. Child Obes 2015; 11(4): 338-346. doi: 10.1089/chi.2014.0117.
Marshall TA. Preventing dental caries associated with sugar-sweetened beverages. J Am Dent Assoc 2013; 144(10): 1148-1152.
Costacurta M, DiRenzo L, Sicuro L, Gratteri S, De Lorenzo A, Docimo R. Dental caries and childhood obesity: analysis of food intakes, lifestyle. Eur J Paediatr Dent 2014; 15(4): 343-348.
Wilder JR, Kaste LM, Handler A, Chapple-McGruder T, Rankin KM. The association between sugar-sweetened beverages and dental caries among third-grade students in Georgia. J Public Health Dent 2016; 76(1 76-84. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12116.