You may not know it but the human body is actually composed of about 60 percent water. Throughout the day, your body loses water mostly through urine, sweat, and excretion. You even lose a bit of water through breathing. All living things need water to survive. Humans can only survive about three days without water which just goes to show how important it is for you to stay hydrated.
How Much Water Should I Drink A Day?
Water is a vital component in keeping your body functioning normally. Water helps regulate your body temperature and protects your tissues, spine, and joints. It also helps improve digestion. Not to mention, water aids in breaking down important vitamins and nutrients. Drinking a glass of water before meals is also a good way to control hunger so you avoid overeating.
You’ve probably heard the rule about drinking eight glasses of water every day. This is actually true. Most health experts recommend the average adult drinks at least eight 8-ounce glasses or two liters of water daily. However, the optimal water intake for each person can differ as a result of different factors.
Factors that affect water intake
The recommended water intake for an individual is affected by a number of factors and can differ from person to person. Ultimately, internal and external influences have an effect on how much water you actually need to drink throughout the day.
According to the U.S National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average for men is about 15.5 cups or 3.7 liters of fluids a day for men. For women, it’s advised that they consume around 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters of fluids a day. However, we’ve also included a list of other considerations that you should take note of if you want to stay well-hydrated.
If you live in a warm, humid, and dry area, you might need to drink more fluids. The same is true for those who live in mountainous regions and high altitudes. Those who live in these areas are prone to greater fluid loss. Be sure to bring a water bottle if you enjoy staying outdoors or relaxing under the sun. It is common to get thirstier quicker in this type of environment.
If you’re the type who drinks coffee or caffeinated beverages regularly, you will tend to lose a considerable amount of bodily fluids. Oftentimes this is a result of urinating more frequently. People who also eat a lot of salty, spicy, or sugary food will need to drink more water. Adding more hydrating fruits and veggies into your daily meal plan to get more of those fluids back.
It’s no surprise that you sweat more during warmer seasons. You should make sure you are drinking hydrating fluids during warm months.
Doing a lot of physical activity will cause you to lose a considerable amount of water. This is a result of sweat being released in order to remove heat from your body. Staying hydrated while working out helps in cooling you down and reduces the risk of heat stress.
Pregnancy takes a large physical toll on the expecting mother’s body. Extra fluid intake is important in order to keep both the mom and the baby well-hydrated.
Water-rich Foods and Beverages
You’ll be happy to know that there are loads of other food items other than water that can help you stay hydrated. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of hydration that also has a ton of health benefits.
You can get a lot of fluids from a salad. Lettuce, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchinis have very high water content so adding these to your diet can definitely help you meet your recommended fluid intake. Oranges are full of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. The water and fiber in oranges and other citrus fruits can help make you feel full. This is great if you’re looking to lose weight
Skim milk is another great option if you’re looking for a beverage. It contains a lot of water along with different vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Many have said that skim milk is a good alternative to sports drinks after an intense workout session which can be attributed to its protein and electrolyte content.
Additional Resource: Nutrition Info about Beverages
Effects of low water intake
Dehydration is a common condition that is a result of not consuming enough fluids. Aside from not drinking water, it can also be caused by other conditions such as diarrhea, vomiting, or having a fever.
A study reported that women showed a fluid loss of 1.36 percent after exercise. In turn, this led to impaired mood and concentration as well as an increased frequency of headaches. Another study in China found in men not drinking water for 36 hours had noticeable effects on fatigue, attention and focus, reaction speed, and short-term memory.
How do I know if I'm drinking enough?
There are a number of signs that can help you determine if you’re well-hydrated. One good indicator is if your urine is very light in color. Another to look out for is that you are peeing every few hours or a total of six to eight times a day. This interval is considered ideal and is a good measure that your body is getting enough fluids.
Bad breath can also be a sign that your water intake is low because your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva. This can lead to a build-up of bacteria which gives your breath an unpleasant odor.
Should I worry about drinking too much water?
As the saying goes, too much of a good thing is also bad. Water intoxication or hyponatremia is a condition which causes the inside of the cells to swell and become flooded. This is a result of extremely low sodium levels in the bloodstream. You may be drinking too many fluids if your pee is clear or if you wake up in the middle of the night just to use the bathroom.
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