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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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Water: The Essential Nutrient


 By Carleton Rivers, MS, RD, LD

Water is essential for every cell, tissue and organ in our body to work properly. To put this in perspective, you could survive around six weeks without food but not make it past a week without water. This is because water helps to regulate our body temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, carry waste products away from cells, maintain blood volume, and lubricate joints and body tissues.

Listed in the table below are recommendations for total water consumption (not just drinking water) divided into different life stage groups. It is important to know that not all of the water you consume comes from the fluids you drink. Much of the water is actually from the foods you eat. Foods that have high water content are fresh fruits and vegetables as well as broth-based soups. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages may cause dehydration and should be limited.

 

 * Adequate intake is the amount recommended to cover the needs of each life stage group; however, these amounts do not apply to every individual.
Source: Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate.


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