The human body is roughly 70% water, so it’s no surprise that water is essential for us to survive. But how much do you really need?
Through the day, your body expels water numerous ways, whether by sweat, urination, salivation or otherwise. Those who regularly exercise and sweat need to ingest more water than those who don’t, just as those with a larger body mass need more water than those with smaller frames.
It’s important to know exactly how much you need to keep your body healthy and not to over-hydrate. It is possible to drink too much water, just as it’s possible to not drink enough. It called water intoxication and it can be fatal. There are some 200,000 cases a year of over-hydration reported.
The 8-by-8 Golden Rule
You’ve probably heard this rule: you need 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day. This is roughly 2 liters, or about half a gallon.
This is the widely accepted standard amount of water for the average person. You may need more depending on how much you sweat. If you eat foods that are water rich, or are a smaller person, you might need less that amount.
Optimal water intake can benefit the way your body and your brain work.
1. Water Increases Brain Function and Boosts Energy Levels
Adequate hydration results in boosted energy levels and supports brain function.
One study showed that fluid loss after a workout of merely 1.36% of total body weight results in a negative effect on mood, concentration and can cause migraines. This study also showed that a loss of 1-3% of body hydration (whether by heat or exercise) results in poorer brain function, moodiness, and impacted physical performance.
2. Staying Hydrated Supports Weight Loss
Proper hydration results in accelerated weight loss. According to studies, drinking roughly 500ml of water (18oz) can temporarily boost your metabolism. An accelerated metabolism prompts your body to burn more energy, which enforces weight loss. Researchers estimate that drinking 2 liters of water a day (68 ounces) increases your body’s daily energy expenditure by up to 100 calories.
Cold water trumps warm water. Cold water costs the body energy to warm. This can add to daily calories burned.
Another calorie-affecting fact? Drinking a 16 ounces of cold water roughly 30 minutes before a meal can reduce the amount of calories your body intakes from the food. Dieters who practice drinking water before meals lose up to 50% more weight than those who don’t over a course of three months.
Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day can increase the amount of calories your body expends and decrease calorie intake from food. It also causes a temporary boost in metabolism, which, in combination with the previous effect, can give an added boost to anyone attempting to lose weight.
Water Helps Prevent Health Problems
There’s a long list of health problems that can be prevented or mitigated by adequate water intake.
While many of them respond positively to adequate hydration, there are a few that can be completely eradicated by long-term adequate water hydration:
Increasing and maintaining optimal water intake can help prevent constipation.
Some studies and claims indicate that those who regularly hydrate themselves have a lower risk of developing bladder and colorectal cancer.
Kidney stones are a common affliction that affects millions of people worldwide. Numerous studies show proper hydration can prevent kidney stones from developing, and can help those who have them expel them.
Acne and Skin Hydration
While there are no official studies that support this, numerous nutritionists claim that proper hydration can help prevent or reduce acne.
Proper hydration helps the skin heal and reproduce with new, healthy skin cells.
Water is also welcome as a body cleanser, as increased intake directly results in more toxins being flushed out more rapidly by your body.
Water is not the only source of fluids available. Other drinks can contribute to your hydration level.
A widely accepted myth is that teas, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks do little to hydrate you. This is because caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it increase the process of urination. This myth, while widely accepted, is false according to studies, as the diuretic effect of those beverages is very mild.
There are many foods out there with high water levels that can contribute towards your hydration levels. Some examples are meat (especially fish), eggs, and most of all water-rich fruit and vegetables.
This means that if your diet contains large amounts of coffee/tea and fish, eggs, meats fruits or vegetables, you may already be properly hydrating your body with a lower intake of actual water.
Thirst is important
Thirst is an automatic reaction that signals us when we’re becoming dehydrated. If you’re thirsty, drink water, it’s as simple as that.
Eating salty foods also increases thirst, as salty foods can increase sodium levels in the body. Increased sodium levels require more hydration, and decreased sodium levels less hydration.
So How Much Water Do You REALLY Need to Drink?
As mentioned, water intake depends on your diet, the amount of activity you do in a day, and the environment you’re in.
If you want to keep yourself properly hydrated, start with the 8 glasses of 8 ounces per day rule, refined with the following three simple steps:
- When thirsty, drink water
- When not thirsty anymore, stop drinking
- In hot weather and during exercise, drink more water than what your thirst is telling you to compensate for the lost fluids
Proper hydration is essential for health. Water supports cell reproduction and healthy, normal functioning. Increased water intake (to a point) benefits your body.Share!