A glass of crystal clear water may look simple to you, but believe me when I say that it is the best bet for your health. You can live without food for several days, but not without water. Everybody knows the importance of drinking adequate water every day, but most of them are not drinking water in the right amount required for their body to be honest. Are you aware of the health benefits of drinking water? Are you drinking enough water everyday? Do you drink water only when you are thirsty? This article will give you some guidelines to determine how much water you need to drink everyday.
Importance of Water
Water is the most important component of human body and comprises about 60% of the body weight. Water is also required to complete a balanced diet. Here are some of the health benefits of water that you need to know :
- One of the major function of water in our body is to flush out the metabolic wastes and toxins through the kidneys in the form of urine.
- Water is an integral component of the plasma and the extracellular fluid which supplies nutrients to the body cells.
- Drinking the right amount of water can prevent the formation of stones in the urinary tract including the kidneys.
- Adequate water is necessary to prevent infections in the urinary tract.
- It provides moisture for the proper functioning of nose, throat, ears etc.
Being inexpensive and easily available compared to the other beverages doesn’t decrease the value of water in any manner! Now that you know the importance of water in shaping our good health, let’s try to crack the million dollar question.
How much water should you drink?
The amount of water a person needs to drink everyday depends on several factors. The built of the person, health status, the kind of work, lifestyle and environmental factors plays vital roles while trying to answer this question. This simply means that there is no definite formula to measure the correct amount of water a person has to drink daily.
Many studies have been conducted to answer this question and all of them point to a simple fact. A person needs to take water according to his lifestyle, and other factors mentioned below.
You would have heard about the “eight by eight” rule, which requires everyone to drink 8 glasses, each containing 8 ounces of water. This will round-up to 2000 ml (2 litres) roughly. If we drink other beverages like tea, coffee, milk etc daily, the total fluid intake can go up to 2500 ml.
A person leading a sedentary lifestyle, with minimal physical activity and working in an air-conditioned room needs just 2 to 2.5 litres of fluids daily.
In the case of those who work with moderate levels of activity, the daily fluid intake should go up to 3 litres.
Recent studies from United Kingdom have shown that drinking a glass of water half an hour before every major meal a day can help reduce the body weight by 4 kg in just 12 weeks!
One may need to drink more water after physical exercises in order to compensate for the fluid loss. About 500 ml of water is required after short bouts of exercises. It is recommended to take one glass of water before, during and after the exercise.
The water intake can also vary in several diseases. For example, a person suffering from heart failure or kidney failure has to limit the daily intake of water in order to reduce the work load on the damaged organs and prevent further complications.
Conditions which bring about loss of body fluid like fever, vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration. In such conditions, oral fluid intake should be increased. Severe dehydration cannot be managed at home and might need hospitalization.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding are two other situations where the intake needs to be increased to 3 litres per day.
Hot and humid environmental conditions are other factors, where increased water intake is needed to remain healthy. Increasing the water intake in summers according to your lifestyle is highly recommended.
So, are you drinking enough fluids?
Well, the first step to find out whether you are drinking adequate amount of fluids is to keep a count of the number of glasses of water or other fluids that you drink everyday. The fluids that can contribute to the daily quota can include beverages like milk, tea, coffee, sodas, juices etc. It should be kept in mind that these “other fluid sources” should not be made the major contributors to the daily required volume. It is best to make water your favourite beverage because it has zero calories, has no added preservatives or colour and is inexpensive too.
Do not use “thirst” as your body’s natural signal to drink water. By the time the sensation of thirst develop, your body would have gone into dehydration.
You can also seek the help of your doctor to find out whether your current fluid intake is adequate or not. Or else, use the “Ask a Doctor” page and we will be glad to help you.
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