How much water should I drink?

Diva - 30 Dec 21

woman in black long sleeve shirt holding blue plastic bottle
Photo by Bindle Bottle on Unsplash

How much Water should I drink Fun Fact of the day! Your body is about 60 percent water. Yes, you read that correctly. Scary actually right?  The Human body constantly loses water throughout the day, this is mostly through urinating and sweating but also from regular body functions like breathing. For us to prevent dehydration, we need to drink plenty of water every day. We will go deeper into this. Physically, you need water to maintain your body and all your systems. But we also have a metaphorical analogy that we would like to share. Drinking water is important, but you also need to hydrate your soul.

There are many different opinions that you can find online on just how much water you should be drinking every day. There are sometimes mixed signals and mixed opinions on this topic and that is probably why you have ended up on our blog. Health experts commonly recommend eight 8 glasses of water a day which equals about 2 litres. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.

However, some experts believe that you need to sip on water constantly throughout the day, even when youre not thirsty. As with most things, this depends entirely on the individual. Many factors (both internal and external) ultimately affect how much water you need. This is just a proven fact. We will talk about how to easily stay well hydrated for your individual needs.

How much water you need depends on a lot of things and varies from person to person. For adults, the general recommendation from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is about:

  • 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) a day for women
  • 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) a day for men

This includes fluids from water, beverages like teas, and from food. You get an average of 20 percent of your water from the foods you eat.Food Options with a 90-100% water content, include the following:

  • Drinks like fat-free milk.
  • Fruits, especially cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon.
  • Vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach and cooked squash.

Food Options with a 70-89% water content, include the following:

  • Fruits including bananas, grapes, oranges, pears and pineapples.
  • Vegetables such as carrots, cooked broccoli and avocados.
  • Dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese and ricotta cheese.
Water is essential to life.

About 60% of your body is made of water. This plays a big role in keeping all of your body systems working well and functioning optimistically. On the take back what we are saying is when you Stay well hydrated it can help reduce your risk of developing kidney stones, urinary tract infections and constipation.

Individuals who are very active can lose more water through sweat, as the body tries to cool itself down. The same is true at higher altitudes and when you are out in extreme temperatures. Plus, illnesses such as fever and diarrhoea promote additional water loss as well.

You might need more water than someone else. How much water you need also depends on some other factors.

  • Where you liveYou will need more water in hot, humid, or dry areas. You’ll also need more water if you live in the mountains or at a high altitude
  • Your diet. If you drink a lot of coffee and other caffeinated beverages you might lose more water through extra urination. You will likely also need to drink more water if your diet is high in salty, spicy, or sugary foods. Or, more water is necessary if you don’t eat a lot of hydrating foods that are high in water like fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables.
  • The temperature or season. You may need more water in warmer months than cooler ones due to perspiration.
  • Your environment. If you spend more time outdoors in the sun or hot temperatures or in a heated room, you might feel thirstier faster.
  • How active you are. If you are active during the day or walk or stand a lot, you’ll need more water than someone who’s sitting at a desk. If you exercise or do any intense activity, you will need to drink more to cover water loss.
  • Your health. If you have an infection or a fever, or if you lose fluids through vomiting or diarrhoea, you will need to drink more water. If you have a health condition like diabetes you will also need more water. Some medications like diuretics can also make you lose water.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re pregnant or nursing your baby, you’ll need to drink extra water to stay hydrated. Your body is doing the work for two (or more), after all.

The Risks of Dehydration and Over-hydration

 If you lose more water than you take in, your body can become dehydrated. Dehydration can wreak havoc on your body, causing headaches, dizziness or digestion problems. Mild dehydration may impact your mood, memory or how well you're able to process information. These symptoms often go away once your body gets rehydrated. Medical attention is often needed with severe dehydration, since it can lead to more serious problems such as confusion, kidney failure, heart problems and possibly death.

It is also possible to become over hydrated. Although this is not as common, athletes and individuals with certain medical conditions may be at higher risk for over hydration. Symptoms of severe over hydration are often similar to dehydration and may also require medical attention. For example, confusion and seizures can occur. Individuals participating in long stretches of physical activity, such as marathons, often need to replace both water and sodium losses. In these events, a hydration schedule is usually followed, and beverages such as sports drinks may be recommended.

Can my water intake affect brain activity and energy levels?

Many people claim that if you dont stay hydrated throughout the day, your energy levels and brain function start to suffer, this might be true for most of you reading this, or perhaps you have felt this way but you were not entirely sure why. What if you had a good nights rest and still try to push through your day but you can not keep your focus.

There are plenty of studies to support this. Drinking water is so important. 

One study in women showed that a fluid loss of 1.36 percent after exercise impaired their mood and concentration and  it increased the frequency of headaches for them. Another study in China that followed 12 men in university found that not drinking water for 36 hours had noticeable effects on fatigue, attention and focus, reaction speed, and short-term memory.

Even mild dehydration can reduce physical performance. A clinical study on older, healthy men reported that just a 1 percent loss of body water reduced their muscle strength, power, and endurance. 

Losing 1 percent of body weight might not seem like a lot, but its a significant amount of water to lose. This usually happens when youre sweating a lot or in a very warm room and not drinking enough water throughout the day. 

Does drinking a lot of water help me lose weight?

There are a lot of claims out there that drinking more water may reduce your body weight by increasing your metabolism and curbing your appetite. For the most part, this is true. Sometimes we reach for food when all our bodies essentially want and need is a glass of water and not added calories with the food you chose to eat instead of drinking more water.

It has been proven that drinking more water than usual correlated to a decrease in body weight and body composition scores. There was also a study done that found chronic dehydration was associated with obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Drinking drinking (2 litres) of water in one day increases energy expenditure by about 23 calories per day due to a thermogenic response, or a faster metabolism.

Drinking water about a half hour before meals can also reduce the number of calories you end up consuming. This might happen because its easy for the body to mistake thirst for hunger as we mentioned above.

One study showed that people who drank (500 mL) of water before each meal lost 44% more weight over a 12 week period  compared to those who didnt. Take it from us, drink a glass or 2 of water prior to your meal. This will help you not to overeat as well.

This may give you a boost in managing appetite and maintaining a healthy body weight, especially when combined with a healthy eating plan.

Whats more, drinking plenty of water has a number of other health benefits.

Does more water help prevent certain health problems? 

Drinking enough water is required for your body to function in general. Several health problems may also respond well to increased water intake and below we have listed a few of them:

  • Constipation. If you struggle with constant constipation then Increasing your water intake can help you with constipation, this is a very common problem under woman who do not take in the daily required amount of water.
  • Urinary tract infections. Increasing water consumption may help prevent recurring urinary tract and bladder infections 
  • Kidney stones. High fluid intake decreased the risk of kidney stones, If this is a problem you might be experiencing it is worth it to try and up your daily fluid intake.
  • Skin hydration.  More water leads to better skin hydration, though more research is needed on improved clarity and effects on acne.

Do fluids count toward my daily total? 

Plain water is not the only drink that contributes to your fluid balance but we highly recommend trying to stick to pure water. Other drinks and foods can have a significant effect too.

Most foods contain water in varying levels. Meat, fish, eggs, and especially Fruits and vegetables all contain a good amount of water. If you struggle eating fresh fruits and vegetables we would recommend trying to add them to a smoothie which will be easier to drink and you will be reaping the benefits and nutrients of the fruits and fresh vegetables 

Indications for hydration to look at:

Maintaining your water balance is essential for your survival. For this reason, your body has a sophisticated system for controlling when and how much you drink. When your total water content goes below a certain level, your thirst levels kicks in. This is carefully balanced by mechanisms similar to breathing — you dont need to consciously think about it. Your body knows how to balance its water levels and when to signal you to drink more.

While thirst may be a reliable indicator of dehydration, relying on feeling thirsty may not be adequate for optimal health or exercise performance. At the time thirst strikes, you may be already feeling the effects of too little hydration such as fatigue or headaches. Using your urine color as your guide can be more helpful to know if youre drinking enough. Aim for pale, clear urine.

There really is no science behind the 8x8 rule. It is completely arbitrary. That said, certain circumstances may call for increased water intake. The most important one may be during times of increased sweating. This includes exercise and hot weather, especially in a dry climate. If youre sweating a lot, make sure to replenish the lost fluid with water. Athletes doing long, intense exercises may also need to replenish electrolytes, like sodium and other minerals, along with water.

Your water need increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding. So be sure to increase your intake as your body asks for it. You will also need more water when you have a fever and when youre vomiting or have diarrhoea. If you desire to lose weight, consider upping your water intake too. Furthermore, older people may need to consciously watch their water intake because the thirst mechanisms can start to malfunction with ageing. Studies show that adults over 65 years old are at a higher risk for dehydration.

Our Conclusion:

At the end of the day, no one can tell you exactly how much water you need. This depends on many factors as we have established above. Try to experiment to see what works best for you. Some people may function better with more water than usual, while for others it only results in more frequent trips to the bathroom. If you want to keep things simple, these guidelines should apply to the majority of people:

1.Drink often enough throughout the day for clear, pale urine.
2. When youre thirsty, drink water.
3. During high heat and exercise and other mentioned indications, make sure to drink enough to compensate for the lost or extra needed fluids.
4. Thats it! Just try to have your daily 2L of water a day, it is essential for your body to function in a good way. 

We have established as we mentioned in the beginning of this blog, fuelling and hydrating your body physically is most certainly needed, but we have also come to the conclusion that there is a water pitcher metaphor that everyone needs to implement in their life. 

Each of us have a pitcher of water, and every day, we pour our water into a myriad of glasses. Our spouse has a glass, our children have a glass, our job has a glass, our friends have a glass, our volunteer work has a glass… you get the idea. Eventually, by pouring out our water to the people and things in our lives, our pitchers will run dry. Self-care is the act of refilling the pitcher. Make sure to always practise self care - physically and mentally. It is a good term to live by!

We started this blog with the question how much water should I drink? - How much water should I drink to lose weight? We have established, it is essential to drink 2-3L water daily. Replenish yourself and trust your body. 

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