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The common question goes, “How much water should I drink a day”?
I guess we all know this by hard… WATER is good for you!
But how much water is needed every day? Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question as it really depends on each’s environment, lifestyle and sometimes your medical condition.
Water is essential to good for you but knowing the optimum amount to drink is key.
What is the function of water in the body?
The average amount of water in the human body ranges between 50-70%, with the percentage of water in infants being higher than adults. The percentage of water depends on our hydration level. We will start to feel thirsty if you have lost around 2-3% of your body’s water.
Dehydration can occur when there is a lack of water in your body. This condition happens when you do not drink enough water. Even slight dehydration can seep you off your energy, make you feel tired and affect both your mental and physical performance.
All the systems in our body rely on water. We lose water through perspiration, urination and bowel movements. To prevent dehydration, we need to consume food and beverages that contain water so that our body can continue to function properly.
It flushes out toxins from our important organs, transports nutrients to our cells and provides a moist environment for our bodily tissues.
Eight glasses a day
I am quite sure that you have heard of this advice before…drink 8 glasses of water a day. The size of the glasses you use may vary, but it should be roughly equivalent to 2 liters of water a day.
Although this is just a very rough measurement, it remains very popular since it is so easy to remember. Please bear in mind that these “8 glasses of water per day” should include all beverages like coffee and tea that you consume during the day.
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
In short, YES. But it is uncommon.
Consuming too much water can cause a situation known as water intoxication and hyponatremia (resulting from the dilution of sodium in the body). Water intoxication is sometimes seen in athletes and infants under 9 months of age. After a strenuous physical activity, an athlete loses both water and electrolytes from his/her body. Water intoxication can happen when he/she drinks too much water without the accompanying electrolytes. This can also happen to anyone who is dehydrated and drinks too much water within a short period.
It is recommended that one drinks a lot of water throughout the day instead of drinking a massive amount at one go. The kidneys of a healthy adult person can process fifteen liters of water a day, so the chances of you suffering from water intoxication are low as long you do not try to drink your daily water needs and more, all at once. Furthermore, sipping water throughout the day allows your body to absorb more water to keep it functioning at its optimum level.
Other Reasons that Impact Your Water Requirements
- Exercise – make sure you replenish the fluids that you lost through sweat
- Weather – a hot and humid environment makes you lose fluids through sweat
- Health Conditions – when you are vomiting or having diarrhea, make sure you drink more water
- Breastfeeding/pregnancy – fluids are lost when nursing so drink more water to stay hydrated
So, the next time someone asks, “How much water should I drink a day?” – you should already know the answer!