How Much Water Do You Need?
- 8 8-ounce glasses a day? The 8x8 rule
- half your body weight in ounces?
- 2 litres?
- 3 litres?
- depends on how much coffee/tea/alcohol you consume?
The last answer, depends, about sums it up!
How hydrated we remain really does depend on a variety of factors including, but not limited to:
- physical activity
- your health
What all the health authorites appear to agree on is that we need hydration in our daily intake. Water is critical to our overall health, after all, our body is anywhere from 50 - 75% water, on average around 60% water.
This water is used in a variety of ways in the body, including:
- maintain the health and integrity of every cell in the body
- keep the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels
- help eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism, excess electrolytes (for example, sodium and potassium), and urea, which is a waste product formed through the processing of dietary protein
- regulate body temperature through sweating
- moisten mucous membranes such as those of the lungs and mouth
- lubricate and cushion joints
- reduce the risk of cystitis by keeping the bladder clear of bacteria
- aid digestion and prevent constipation
- moisturise the skin to maintain its texture and appearance
- carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
- serve as a shock absorber inside the eyes, spinal cord and in the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus in pregnancy.
So, now, do you need to get all your water intake from plain, cool, often considered to be boring, WATER?
Options available to you for obtaining your optimal intake of water include water (of course), all your drinks (including coffee, teas and protein shakes), your food (especially water rich fruit and vegetables), and, surprisingly, your digestive system water production (yes, digesting food can provide water!).
There is recent research that states that your body can still source the water it needs, regardless of the fluid it comes in - so, if you drink coffee or soda drinks, your body will still utilise the water in these fluids. An interesting fact!
Now, in saying that, the consumption of soda drinks, that are high in sugar, will not help you lose weight. They contain what we call empty calories, and, as such, won't create the full feeling that lasts, as would drinking water (or black coffee, no sugar), followed by a healthy balanced snack.
Often too, the hungry feeling is simply because you are dehydrated - so, before you reach for the snack, have a drink of water, a coffee or a tea first, then, if you are still hungry 1/2 hour later, you can assure yourself that you are indeed hungry, and a balanced snack can be the ticket!
How do you know you're dehydrated?
- mood changes and slow responses
- dry nasal passages
- dry or cracked lips
- dark-coloured urine
- confusion and hallucinations.
Another interesting fact is that keeping hydrated also plays a role in keeping the body warm, so a properly hydrated body will burn more calories.
How To Keep Hydrated
Step 1: don't allow yourself to become thirsty, sip small amounts regularly
Step 2: drink water (I prefer water with a squeeze of lemon in it, but try ice cubes made from fruit juice) and other healthy fluids (like coffee, teas, protein shakes, soups)
Step 3: eat plenty of water dense fruit and vegetables (cucumber, bell peppers and watermelon)
Find out your optimal amount of fluid to intake (for the average adult, this will be 2 - 3 litres of fluid a day), ensuring you have more if you are an athlete, are sweating a lot, in a hot climate, are breastfeeding or are pregnant.
For a bit of fun, and it's by no means evaluated, try this calculator for how much fluid you might need when exercising,