Water and air are the most essential requirements of the body. A person can survive up to 21 days only on water (without food).
Every single cell in the body requires water to function and stay alive. Nobody can survive for long without water.
It is important to know how much water you should drink every day for the best of health.
There is no exact answer to this question as a person’s physical requirement of the water is very much related to the living and working conditions of the individual.
Apparently, an athlete who engages in energetic sporting activities under the scorching sun requires more water intake than an employee working in a comfortable office room.
There are numerous recommendations made by various health studies on the daily water requirements of the human body.
Importance Of Water For The Human Body
A healthy human body usually has about 60% water in total body weight.
The smooth functioning of all body organs requires water. Water is essential for carrying nutrients to the body cells and for flushing toxins out of the vital organs.
Our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, requires sufficient water moisture to function healthily. Even brains and hearts cannot work without essential water fluids.
You count on any bodily function, and you will notice all almost all of them require water to work smoothly.
Water or bodily fluids help in several vital functions of the body like the maintenance of body temperature, saliva creation, transportation of nutrients, absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients, digestion, blood circulation, and many more.
Bodily fluid helps in the transportation of toxicant waste products out of body cells. Blood urea nitrogen and water-soluble waste are easily removed and excreted through urine by the kidney.
Muscle fatigue is caused by the imbalance of bodily fluids
and electrolytes shrivel. Especially people engaged in active sporting activities will fail to perform well if the fluid balance is not maintained.
You might have experienced how weak you felt when you were dehydrated at some times in the past. Extreme dehydration can even make you break down totally… sickly and bedridden as well.
Joan Koelemay, RD, a dietitian for the Beverage Institute says, “Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day.”
How much water do you need per day?
Let us examine how much water a person needs to drink in normal working and living conditions.
Have you ever thought of the amount of water your body loses daily?
You lose water out of your body even while you are breathing.
Maxim amount of water the body is losing through urination, bowel movement, and sweat.
It is important to replenish the body with an equal amount of water that your body is losing.
The first step to deciding upon how much fluid or water you need is to analyze the “thirst signaling” by your body. When you are thirsty.. your body needs water.
There is no proven theory to say exactly how much amount of water a person needs to drink.
The study conducted by The Institute of Medicine points out the adequate intake of water for a woman in normal conditions is about 9 cups or 2.2 liter’s liquid in any form. Men need to drink a little more daily fluid intake than women; about 13 cups or 3 liters per day.[1, 2]
An adult living in a temperate climate might require much more water intake than the other elsewhere.
A person engaged in intensive sporting activities or army men on duty may require two times more water intake than a person working in a comfortable office.
Breastfeeding mothers will need to take more water, and it goes the same with those suffering from diseases like diarrhea and vomiting.
Other mostly accepted principles of the water intake requirement are those recommended by the health authorities; an adult must daily intake not less than eight glasses of water daily. That is to say, a grown-up person requires half a gallon or 2 liters of water every day.
Almost all experts have shown a consensus agreement on the “8×8 Rule” to be followed regarding water intake required by the human body. That is eight x 8-ounce glass water daily for an adult person.
Some health gurus do not agree with the ‘8×8 Rule’, but they insist that every person needs to sip a few ounces of water at frequent intervals as our body is always getting dehydrated. One should not wait to feel thirsty to drink water.
Again, it must be noted that all these suggestion is for people in normal and ordinary living and working conditions.
A person who is in direct exposure to sunlight and outdoor activities for long hours faces extreme dehydration, and they need a lot more water intake to beat the dehydration.
Old people need to be a bit more cautious with water intake. Some people in old-age lose their sense of thirst.
You can easily notice the level of dehydration you have by casually examining the urine you pass out.
Normally if you are sufficiently hydrated the urine will be crystal clear and odorless (when you are not sickly and not on medication).
If your urine turns yellowish in color and foul-smelling; you should know that you have not had enough water or fluid.
Study Results On Optimum Water Intake
Here are some of the important points I have gathered from various studies conducted on the water requirements of the human body.
There is a lot of discussion on the effectiveness of water in boosting energy levels and brain functioning.
It was verified in one particular study on a group of women that less than 2% dehydration after exercise did cause a drop in mood and concentration and some even experienced mild headaches.
Almost every study conducted on the effects of dehydration shows similar results on the person subjected to. A bit of dehydration, sweating out about 1% of body weight leads to sluggishness in physical and mental activities.
You must maintain an optimum level of water intake to avoid dehydration.
Does Drinking More Water Help In Weight Loss?
One of the biggest benefits of sufficient water intake is vitalizing and strengthening every bodily function. A healthy amount of water intake helps in boosting metabolism and decreasing appetite.
Studies have shown that a balanced amount of water intake contributes to improving metabolic actives by 30% or more.
It has been found that 2 liters of water drank a day will help the person to increase energy usage by 90 calories or more per day.
Interestingly, taking chilled water alone helps the body to burn more calories to raise the body temperature to a required level.
One of the most commonly accepted and widely practiced weight loss solutions is to have two glasses of water about 30 minutes before the meal. It is an excellent way to kill hunger, and it helps the person to consume less food than otherwise.
If you are obese and want to lose weight naturally, just start drinking two glasses of water 20 minutes before you have your meal. If you continue with this practice, soon you will find that you are shedding one or two pounds weeks after weeks.
If you just want to shed a few pounds, the only weight loss solution you may require is the careful selection of your diet and drinking a few extra glasses of water. Of course, have two glasses of water a few minutes before the meal without failure.
Drinking More Water For Healthy Reasons
You can ward off many diseases and obesity by drinking a sufficient amount of water.
Appendicitis And Kidney Stone issues could be kept away if you never allow your body to get dehydrated.
Abdominal and Intestinal Cancer occurrence to a great extent could be prevented if you regularly maintain a healthy intake of water. Water also cleanses and detoxifies the digestive system to a large extent.[14,15]
Can Water Be Substituted With Other Fluid Drinks?
There is always some doubt and discussion about whether ‘8 glasses water a day’ rule strictly means the same.
Going by the medical standards, “8 glasses of fluid” a day is sufficient. It simply means to say any healthy fluids…and not water alone.
Out of the “8 glass” rule at about two glasses of water or more our body directly get from the fruits and food we eat.
Every fluid and food we take contributes to the hydration of the body.
Even the coffee and tea we drink add to the body as the water (excluding caffeine and sugar!)
The vegetables and fruits we eat contain a good percentage of water in them. Just, for example, watermelon, cucumber, and spinach contain 90% water.
Milk, beverages, and beer have become major sources of fluid supply in most people’s diets.
But alcoholic drinks increase dehydration because it inhibits a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). Alcohol distorts the communication between kidney and brain; which results in excess excretion of fluids (that’s why persons under alcoholic influence urinate in excess).
Water is the best and most healthy source of liquid for the body than the fluid we get from juices and beverages. Water is nature’s gift that is readily available to us.
Finally, we should be more concerned about the fluid balance in the body than the direct source from where we get it.
‘How Much Water’ Is Good Or Bad For You?
The deciding factors that determine the amount of water to be drunk by you depend on you. An adult person requires, at least, eight glasses of water a day.
A person living in a cold climate may require less water compared to a person living in warm climate regions.
Be mindful of the fluid losses constantly happening in you. People get quickly dehydrated in more temperate climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, who have weaker senses to identify thirst. It is important to replenish the amount of fluid you lose from the body.
You need to assess your physical dehydration level and make sure that your body never gets dehydrated more than a 2% percentage of your bodyweight. Ideally, not more than 1% dehydration at any time to ensure you will not face physical tiredness and mental sluggishness.
You should know your body requirements better than anyone else.
The most common signs of dehydration are feeling of dryness in the mouth and throat, feeling thirst, drowsiness, and unusual lethargy.
If your urine color turns yellowish, it is a sign that you are dehydrated.
If you have the human tendency for urination soon after you drink water, then it may be a sign that you are drinking more than the required amount of water at one time. In this case, you could think of drinking half a glass of water after every 30 to 40 minutes than drinking 1 or 2 glasses of water at one shot.
Ultimately, it is again you are the master of yourself.
Always try to remain optimally hydrated than not drinking enough or gulping a gallon of water at one time.
Points To Remember
Keep the following points in mind to make water intakes easier for you:
- Always keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
- It is better to take a few ounces of water frequently than drinking 3-4 glasses of water one-shot (we are not buffalos!!)
- Minimize the intake of coffee and soda that are not the right liquids to hydrate your body
- The more you sweat, the more you should drink
- Eat a lot more fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water
- Drink more mineral water than colas, juices, and other beverages (if beverages then go for non-caloric ones)
- Don’t remain thirsty for long hours…quench your thirst at the earliest opportunity to have water
- Drink water before, during, and after workouts
- Have a non-caloric beverage or water with every snack and meal
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