Water is essential for good health. These guidelines can help you ensure a sufficient intake of fluids. What daily amount of water should you drink? It’s a simple question with no easy answers. Over the years, studies have provided different recommendations, but the truth is that the quantities needed to depend on a number of factors, including health, activity, and place of residence.
Although there is no single formula that encompasses the whole world, it will help you to know the hydration needs of your body to estimate the amount of water you should drink daily.
Benefits of water for health
Water is the main chemical component of the body, about 60% of body weight. All the systems of the body depend on it. For example, water removes toxins from vital organs, carries nutrients to cells, and promotes a moist environment for the tissues of the ears, nose, and throat.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when there is not enough water in the body to perform normal functions. Even weak dehydration can deplete your energy and make you feel tired.
How much water do you need?
Water is lost daily through respiration, perspiration, urine and excrement. For your body to function properly, you must replenish the water supply with the consumption of beverages and foods containing water.
So, how much fluid does a healthy adult need in a temperate climate? An adequate intake for men is about three liters (about 13 glasses) of drinks per day. The intake for women is 2.2 liters (about nine glasses) of drinks per day.
What happens to the advice to drink eight glasses a day?
Everyone has heard this advice: “Drink eight glasses of water a day.” This equals 1.9 liters, a fact that does not differ too much from the recommendations. Although the eight rules are not supported by scientific evidence, it remains a popular standard because it is easy to remember. You should think, then, that the rule should be reformulated like this: “Drink at least eight glasses of liquid a day”, because all liquids count for the total daily.
Factors influencing drinking water needs
You may need to change the total amount of fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate in which you live, your health, and whether you are pregnant or nursing.
- If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you perspire, you need to drink more water to make up for lost fluids. Some 400 or 600 milliliters of extra water (between one and a half to two and a half glasses) should be sufficient for short sessions of exercise, but anyone who does more than an hour (eg running a marathon) needs a more fluid intake.
How much extra fluid you need depends on what you transpire during the exercise and the duration and type of exercise. During long sessions of intense exercise, it is best to drink sports drinks containing sodium, to help you replace what has been lost in perspiration and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia. By the end of the exercise, you should also continue to replenish fluids.
- A hot or humid weather can make you sweat, which forces you to drink more fluids. Heating can also cause your skin to lose moisture during cold periods. In addition, at altitudes above two and a half meters may increase urination or respiratory rate, which consumes more fluid reserves.
- Diseases or physical conditions. When you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In other cases, your doctor may recommend oral solutions to rehydrate you, such as Gatorade or Powerade. You may also need a higher fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, such as a vesicular infection or stones in the urinary tract. On the other hand, other conditions such as heart failure and some diseases of the kidney, liver or adrenal glands can impair the excretion of water and even force you to limit your intake.
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding. Women in state or breastfeeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluids are used, especially during the nursing period. The best thing is for a pregnant woman to drink two liters and a half liters (about 10 glasses) of liquid daily and for those in the nursing period a consumption of three liters (about 13 glasses) of liquid daily.
Beyond the key: other water sources
Although it’s a good idea to have water within reach at all times, you do not have to rely solely on what you drink to meet your fluid intake needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion to your needs. According to the average, food provides 20% of the total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon or tomatoes, contain 90% water or even more.
You may also like to read: HOW TO WAKE UP WITH A FRESH AND ENERGETIC MIND?
In addition, beverages, such as milk or juices, are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine, or caffeinated beverages (such as coffee, tea, or soda) may contribute, though they should not be a part of your total fluid intake. Water is still the best option because it contains no calories, is not expensive and can be achieved more easily.
Be hydrated safely
Generally, if you drink enough liquids so that you do not feel thirsty and you produce a liter and a half or more colorless or pale yellow urine per day, your intake is probably adequate. If you are worried or have health problems, check with your doctor or a qualified dietitian. They can help you determine the correct amount of water in your case.
To keep dehydration at bay and make sure your body has the fluids you need, make water your primary source of liquid intake. It may also be a good idea to:
- Drink a glass of water or any other calorie-free drink with each meal and between them.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise.
Although not very common, you may drink too much water. When your kidneys are not able to evacuate excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels, a condition called hyponatremia. Resistance athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink large amounts of water, are at increased risk of suffering from it. In general, however, drinking too much water is uncommon in healthy adults who follow an average diet.