The most important nutrient in the human body is water.  It is difficult to define an “importance scale” for the nutrients your body needs, but water is the most abundant.  Water takes part in virtually every chemical reaction in the body and therefore affects the body more dramatically than any other nutrient.  In fact, the human body is composed of 60-70% water.  What does that mean for you?  Drink LOTS of water.  If you want to be a healthy, then water must necessarily be part of your prescription.

The body is constantly using water in various ways such as perspiration, lubrication, and an assortment of essential chemical reactions, even when our activity level is minimal.  Consequently, replacing water in your body is a never-ending task.  You should drink water throughout the day and drink plenty during exercise.  There is no magic quantity of how much to drink each day, but drinking frequently is just as important as how much you drink.  Thirty-two ounces of water twice a day is much less effective than 8 ounces 8 times per day.

Just as you eat several times daily, you should also drink several times daily.  The reason for this is that when you drink some water, the body uses what it needs and the rest is dumped out into your urine.  So if you drink a lot all at once, within a few hours little of the water you drank is still in your system (except your bladder).  However, if you drink frequently, you are constantly giving your body water to use, which helps you to be a healthy person, not one whose chemical reactions are stifled.

Below are a couple common chemical processes that cells MUST accomplish to do the job of staying alive.  Notice that all of them involve water (and could and would not happen without it):

This is one of the most basic chemical reactions for producing energy in cells from the food you eat.  You may think its no big deal because water only appears twice, but in both cases it is absolutely essential to the next step and no other molecule can be used in its place.

This is the chemical process that your cells use to produce energy when there is no oxygen around.  It is really inefficient and if it were the only way to make energy, we would be dead at worst, and comatose at best, but it is still important, especially during exercise.  Notice though how water appears again in what seems like an insignificant role, but again, it is essential to get from one step to the next and no substitute exists.

Water: Good for the Body

Water may not seem like a big deal when you are sick because typically you are more lethargic, but it may be more of an issue than when you are well.   If you are vomiting or have diarrhea this is even more true.  Vomit and diarrhea both contain a lot of water, so you need to replace it and then some when you are sick.

Since water participates in almost every process in your body, you must have a plentiful supply for your body to function at its optimum; and that includes your immune system.  When your body has plenty of water, it is better able to battle illness.

Oftentimes it is difficult to consume much when you are sick.  Eating very little is not a big deal because your body has energy reserves, but water diminishes very quickly.  When I am sick I usually drink about 3 times as much water as normal (if I can), even though my activity level is much lower.  When I get sick (which is rare) it usually lasts about half the time it does for everyone around me.  This is not strictly due to my water intake, but it plays a large role in overcoming and recovering from illness.

If you want to be a healthy person when you are sick, the only way to do that is to get better.  Consuming plenty of water is a huge part of that.