You have probably been told that you need to drink a certain amount of water each day in order to stay as healthy as possible. But how much do you need? Does it all have to be drinking water? Are there other ways to get beneficial H2O into your body? There are a lot of different opinions out there, and that can cause a lot of confusion. Here’s some information to help you sort it all out.
Why Water is So Important
Many factors determine how much water you need on a daily basis, including your activity level and overall health. There’s no single right amount for every person. What is clear, however, is that you definitely need to keep up with your water intake.
Every part of your body needs water in order to work correctly. Water keeps your joints lubricated, protects delicate tissues, and keeps your body temperature at a safe level. It also plays a critical role in flushing waste from the body.1
How Much Do You Need?
Again, different people have different water intake needs. In general, though, experts say the average man needs to consume about 3.7 liters (approximately 125 ounces) of water per day through food and beverages. The average woman needs 2.7 liters (about 91 ounces).2
You’ve probably heard that everyone should drink at least eight glasses of water every day. But that might not be enough for some people. And it might be too much for others. These are just some of the factors that will help determine how much you need each day.
· Your environment –
If you live in a warm, humid climate, and you tend to sweat a lot, you might need more water than if you live where the weather is cooler. Also, you might tend to get dehydrated easier if you live at a high altitude.3
· Your overall health –
When you’re not feeling good, you tend to lose fluids faster. For example, you lose water when you have diarrhea. As a result, you’ll need to increase your water intake to compensate for the fluid you’re losing.
· You’re pregnant –
Pregnant women need to make sure they have plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Experts say women need to drink about 10 cups a day while pregnant.4 Women who breastfeed need about 13 cups a day.5
Other Ways to Get the Water You Need
There’s nothing set in stone that says drinking water has be your only source of H2O. If you’re a tea fan, remember, it contains hot water. You can use cold water to make flavored drinks. There are also several foods that contain a lot of water. They provide other health benefits, as well. Here are just a few hydrating food sources:
· Watermelon –
Watermelons are 91 percent water.6 This fruit tastes great, and it’s low in calories. Watermelon is also high in vitamin C, which is important for immune system health.7
· Celery –
Celery is almost all water – 95 percent.8 It also contains vitamin C. One stalk of celery also contains almost a gram of fiber, which helps support proper digestion.9
· Cucumbers –
Cucumbers also contain about 95 percent water.10 They keep you hydrated, which, in turn, can help make sure your digestive system works properly.11
Keeping the Right Balance
It can be tricky to make sure you get the right amount of water each day. But it’s extremely important to your health. If you don’t get enough water, you’ll be at risk of dehydration. This can lead to serious health issues.12
But getting too much water carries its own risks. A condition known as hyponatremia occurs when excess water in the body dilutes your electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that play very important roles in the body. For example, they help regulate the amount of acid in your blood. They also help your muscles function properly.13
Hyponatremia can lead to serious consequences. These include headaches, fatigue, irritability and nausea. It can also result in muscle cramps, spasms, and even seizures. In order to avoid developing this condition, the average person should not consume more than 33 ounces (about four 8-ounce glasses) of water in an hour.14
The Bottom Line
Drinking enough water is obviously important to your overall wellbeing. But the specific amount you need will depend on several different factors. In order to make sure you are getting enough (and not too much), talk to your doctor about your lifestyle. They can help you figure out the exact amount of water you need each day.
And if you need to up your daily water intake?
Keep a bottle of water with you at all times – at work, at home, while you’re out running errands, and especially if you’re exercising. And remember, you don’t need to get all of your fluids from drinking water alone. Other drinks such as tea can keep you hydrated. When you go out to eat, order water instead of a sugary drink such as soda or alcohol. You’ll save yourself the extra calories, too.
Getting enough water provides many benefits. It helps eliminate waste from the body, and it’s essential for nearly all bodily functions. If you haven’t paid much attention to your water intake, now is the time to do so. Your body will thank you for it.
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