How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day?
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There is no straightforward answer to this question. Even studies over the years have produced varying recommendations. But the fact is, you need to drink enough water every day to stay hydrated. So how much water is enough per day?
While drinking water depends on various factors, many health experts recommend drinking 8-ounces of glasses, which is equal to half a gallon or two liters. This is called the 8*8 rule. Other experts will tell you to drink as much water as possible even when you are not dehydrated.
Factors that influence water needs
Here are some of the factors that may impact your total fluid intake:
- Your overall health: When vomiting, have diarrhea or fever, your body loses a lot of fluid. You are also likely to lose more fluids when you have a bladder infection and urinary tract stones. If you have any of this condition, you will need to hydrate often.
- Exercise: Do you do activities that make you sweat a lot? If yes, you need to drink extra water to replenish the lost water. It is wise to drink water before and after exercising for your body to be adequately hydrated.
- Environment: During hot days your body will need more water to cover for fluid loss. Dehydration is also common at high altitudes.
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Pregnant women and those breasting feeding need extra water to stay hydrated. It is recommended for pregnant women to drink 2.4 liters of fluids daily and about 3.1 liters per day for breasting women.
Health benefits of water
Water is an essential component in your body. It is about 60% of your body weight. Basically, our bodies depend largely on the water to function properly. Here is how water benefits your body:
- Gets rid of wastes through perspiration, urination, and bowel movements
- Lubricates and cushions joints
- Keeps your temperature normal
- Protects sensitive tissues
How can you tell if you are drinking enough water?
The color of your pee can tell whether you are drinking enough water or not. If your urine looks dark yellow and infrequently urinating, you are not hydrated enough. It is normal to pee every 90 minutes to 2 hours. Frequently urinating is an indicator you are taking too much water, and it likely that water is not benefiting you. Frequent urination can also signal that you need to see a doctor ASAP.
Skin hydration can also tell you if you are hydrating well. You can tell the level of your skin hydration by pinching the skin on the back of your hand for a few seconds. If the skin returns back to normal quickly, you are probably well hydrated. If it takes longer to return, you are probably dehydrated.
Other symptoms of dehydration include:
- Brain fog
No one will tell you whether you have taken enough water at the end of the day, only you can know if you had enough. To be sure you are drinking enough water every day, consider experimenting until sure of what works best for you. You can do the following to hydrate your body well:
- Drink water when you are thirsty
- Avoid drinking more once you quench your thirst. Your body doesn’t need more water to function properly.
- Drink enough water when exercising and during hot and dry days
Does water intake affect energy levels and brain function?
Various studies have shown how water intake affects energy levels and brain functions. One showed that fluid loss of 1.36% after exercising increase the frequency of headache and impair mood and concentration.
As you can see, loss of fluid can result in some adverse effects on both your mental and physical performance.
Does drinking water help in weight loss?
Additionally, drinking cold water is beneficial because your body is forced to burn more calories to heat the water to the body temperature. Don’t forget drinking water reduces the amount of calorie intake and especially in older adults (* *). In fact, there is a study that revealed dieters who drink 500 ml of water before a meal can lose 44% more weight in 12 weeks than those who don’t.
Does drinking water help prevent health problems?
Yes, drinking enough is very beneficial in many ways. Here is where drinking enough water is crucial
- Increased water intake stops constipation (* * *).
- Increased water intake lowers the risk of bladder and colorectal cancer (* * * *).
- Drinking enough water lowers the risk of kidney stones (* *).
- When you drink enough water, your skin is well hydrated, and that reduces the risk of acne.
Do other fluids contribute to fluid balance?
Other fluids also contribute to fluid balance. So, feel free to gulp them anytime. But remember some fluids have their drawbacks. For example, coffee, alcohol, and tea are diuretic. Remember also to avoid drinks with a high amount of sugar, extra calories, and salt as you may end up hurting your health.
Food loaded with water also contribute to fluid balance.
Easy way to drink more water
Having trouble drinking enough water? Here is what you can do to drink more:
- Infuse water with fruits
- Drink flavored seltzer water
- Eat water-dense food. Below are some fruits with high water content you can try:
- Coconut water (95% water content)
- Watermelon (92% water content)
- Grapefruit (91% water content)
- Strawberries (91% water content)
- Cantaloupe (90% water content)
- Peach (88% water content)
- Raspberries (87% water content)
- Oranges (87% water content)
- Pineapple (87% water content)
Water-rich vegetables include:
- Iceberg lettuce (96% water content)
- Celery (95% water content)
- Cucumber (95% water content)
- Romaine (95% water content)
- Tomatoes (94% water content)
- Zucchini (94% water content)
- Spinach (92% water content)
- Cabbage (92% water content)
- Green peppers (92% water content)
- Cauliflower (92% water content)
You can also stay hydrated by taking soup, smoothies, stews, slushies, chilis, and popsicles, but it is good to avoid fluids with too much salt and sugar.