Water – An Essential Nutrient

Staying Hydrated

If you stop to ask someone in the street how much water they should be drinking on a daily basis, most people will guess about 2 litres.  How much we need is dependent on several factors such as age, gender, genetics, physical activity levels, our diet, where we live, pregnancy and the weather.

Water is an essential part to good health and makes up between 50-70% of our body’s weight.  Every system in our body needs water to function optimally and without it we’d be headed for the same fate as fruits and vegetables that go thirsty.  Even mild dehydration makes us tired and lethargic as our cells function at sub-optimum levels.  Over time, this can cause more serious health issues such as increased risk of kidney stones, urinary tract and colon cancers.

For the average Australian adult male the guidelines recommend a total water intake of 3.4 litres which includes water from both drinks and food.  Fluid intake from drinks alone (not alcohol!) should be 2.5 litres per day.  For the average Australian adult female, the guidelines recommend a total water intake of 2.8 litres per day and 2.1 litres form drinks alone.

But what about farmers and labourers working outside in the sun for 10-12 hours a day?   Their physical activity levels are far greater than the office worker sitting in front of a computer screen all day, increasing their need for extra hydration.  For those farmers living north of Perth in a tropical or sub-tropical climate the needs are also greater due to the amount of water loss with sweat produced on a daily basis.  Sodium levels are also reduced with excessive sweating and physical activity which can cause further health issues.  As a general rule farmers and those who have physically active jobs should be drinking an extra glass or two of water per hour to ensure their body is kept hydrated, even in the winter months when it is cooler.

Many people forget to drink water during the cooler months but hydration is important all year round.  What we eat should contribute to 20% of our total water intake with many fruit and vegetables containing large quantities of water.  For example lettuce, spinach, raw broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, radish, capsicum, zucchini, strawberries and watermelon all contain over 90% water.  Beverages such as milk, juice, tea and coffee also contain significant amounts of water and contribute to your total daily intake.  Alcohol is a diuretic which is dehydrating so best to avoid it if you need to maintain your hydration.

A great way to ensure you meet your water needs is to keep a water bottle handy at all times and set yourself a reminder to stop for a stretch and a drink throughout the day.  Another way is through cooking up nutritious food that not only replaces water but other vital nutrients you may lose through sweating such as sodium.  A nice bowl of soup in winter will help to rehydrate you at the end of the day or you can pop some in a thermos and take it with you for lunch.  Your body and brain will love you for it as it keeps you hydrated and replenishes those energy levels.

Written by Lisa Stegena, Nutritionist

Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programsprivate dietetic consultationschildren’s nutrition & dietetics,  school nutrition and  Corporate Wellness programs.  If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.

No hard sell and no cookie cutter solutions

We have clients travelling for over three hours to come and see us for a range of dietary and health related conditions.  We also receive referrals from over 150 GP’s and specialists throughout WA for those on health care plans and with more complicated health conditions.

Gastric conditions and diseases are our specialty and we consult with many clients who have suffered for years or decades and sometime their whole life with debilitating symptoms.  Migraines, persistent cough, skin conditions, nerve and pain sensitivity and many other symptoms can be related to diet and food chemicals.  Many of our clients experience relief from symptoms within two weeks following our advice.

However, we see a range of clients ranging in age from toddlers to people in their 90’s for all dietary related health conditions including bariatric surgery, children’s dietary issues, weight loss, diabetes and so much more.

Team of Nutritionists and Dietitians

We share our knowledge and our personal stories to inspire, educate, and motivate you, and show you that being healthy can be simple and fun.


Write to us


Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.