How Much Water Should I Drink A Day?
What’s better than chugging down a cold glass of water on a hot sunny day? From aiding digestion to flushing out toxins, water is required for all kinds of bodily functions. Drinking enough water ensures your body has sufficient H2O to carry out normal functions. Water is a principal compound and comprises of about 60% of your body weight. Every organ in your system depends on this natural component in order to stay healthy.
Your personal daily requirement may also vary depending on what you are eating and drinking throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water boosts energy levels and prevents you from tiring out so you can stay rejuvenated throughout the day.
Human Body and water diagram, click here to view larger version.
Your personal daily requirement may also vary depending on what you are eating and drinking throughout the day.
So, How Much Water Does Your Body Need?
We lose water through various functions, such as perspiration, bowel movements and breathing. You have to keep drinking water throughout the day and consume foods that contain water to replenish your body’s hydration levels. Nevertheless, how much water should we drink every day? Over the years, studies have produced various recommendations. The truth is your daily intake depends on various factors, including level of activity, age, physical health, size, and weight, among other important factors.
Realistically, you should drink at least 6-8 cups of water a day if don't consume any other fluids, more in hot climates or if you sweat.
According to the Institute of Medicine, men should drink 3 liters of water a day, which equates to 13 glasses of beverages a day, while women should drink 2.2 liters of water a day, i.e. 9 cups of beverages a day. Note that this includes all sources of water, including a cup of coffee or tea. Your personal daily requirement may also vary depending on what you are eating and drinking throughout the day. Realistically, you should drink at least 6-8 cups of water a day if don't consume any other fluids, more in hot climates or if you sweat. Ideally men should drink 12 glasses of water while women should drink 8.
Drinking milk, fruit juices and herbal teas are all good ways of staying hydrated. However, it is important you note down the amount of sugar that a sweetened drink might contain. Tea and coffee might help you stay awake but always keep track of how much caffeine you are consuming as increased sugar levels can cause problems.
What Is Dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when more water is moving out of the cells than you are taking in through drinking. We lose water every day through excreted sweat or in the form of water vapor in the breath we exhale. Ensure you drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. You can learn more here about dehydration its symptoms, or by visiting medical websites.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
If you’re thirsty, this is a sign that you need more water.
Here are some useful tips for staying hydrated:
- Sip before Meals: Consider sipping some water before you eat a meal. Not only will this help you feel full but also it will ensure you get plenty of water throughout the day.
- Spice up Plain Water: Jazz it up a little by adding chunks of your favorite fruits in a jug of water. Though nothing is refreshing than a cold glass of water on a hot day, mixing and matching a few flavors ensures you don’t get bored of your favorite drink.
- Drink Different Teas: Start consuming different flavored teas. Opt for the unsweetened kind. Fruit iced teas are great for a summer day whereas a steaming cup of hot peppermint tea is great for winters and will keep you cozy throughout the night.
- Pay Attention to Snacks: Snacks such as chips, pretzels, and crackers are all low on water content. Switch to healthier food options, such as frozen yogurt, healthy smoothies along with fruits and vegetables.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Piling your plate high with fruits and vegetables will help you get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Can You Be Overhydrated?
It is possible to become overhydrated but this shouldn’t be much of a problem for someone with healthy kidneys, although, you may have to go to the restroom more often. Overhydration occurs when your body collects or retains too much water. In severe conditions, this might lead to a common condition known as hyponatraemia. Athletes who participate in endurance events or run marathons are prone to consume too much fluid, leading to hyponatraemia.
A research conducted in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine that suggests athletes who participate in sports must drink according to their thirst levels. However, there may be medical reasons to explain why your body is unable to cope with excess water.
Monitor Your Intake by How You Feel
Since you won’t be able to always keep track on sneaky sources of fluids, such as teas and coffees, the best way to gauge your intake is by monitoring how your body feels. If you’re thirsty, this is a sign that you need more water. Another great way to determine your fluid status is by inspecting urine color. Light yellow means you are getting enough water while a darker shade indicates you probably need a little more. Taking constant sips will ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day. If you’re thirsty, this is a sign that you need more water.
The elderly and children are at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated. If your child appears drowsy or is having fewer wet nappies, it is time you take him/her to the doctor. As for adults, older people may confuse symptoms of dehydration with other diseases. Patients who experience diarrhea, vomiting or sweating regularly are at a greater risk of being dehydrated. At the end of the day, nobody can advise you to drink a certain amount of water since it mainly depends on the individual. Do some self-experimentation and opt for whatever works best.