With the temperatures going up and summer coming, it is important to keep yourself hydrated. The most popular saying is to drink 8 glasses a day, but is this really the rule? Would drinking more or less than that in a day be bad for your body?
These questions may be simple but there is no answer that applies to everyone. Research has also come up with different recommendations. The fact is, how much water you need is dependent on several factors, like your health, your activities, and where you are living.
Why Water Is Beneficial
Up to 60% of your body is water and water is essential to your survival. In fact, even your cells need it in order to function properly. It also helps you remove waste from the body through perspiring, urinating and doing bowel movements. It is also important in regulating your body temperature. Moreover, water works as a cushion and lubricant for the joints, as well as protecting sensitive tissues.
When your body lacks water, you will become dehydrated and it will no longer be able to function normally. Even if you are just mildly dehydrated, you will feel drained and tired.
Recommended Daily Intake Volume Of Water
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends that an average built, healthy adult who lives in a temperate climate should take in about 15.5 cups (or 3.7 Liters) if they are male and 11.5 cups (or 2.7 Liters) if they are female.
Not all of these have to be through drinking water, as you also take in liquids through your food intake and other drinks, which actually account for approximately 20% of your daily fluid intake.
Despite this recommendation, it is not completely applicable to everyone. Some people might even require less, though the following factors can influence their water needs.
When you sweat, you lose the water you drink. This means you need to replace the lost fluid so try to drink before, after and while working out. When you are doing intense exercise for more than an hour, a sports drink might be a better option, as it can also replace electrolytes or minerals in the blood, that you lose due to sweating.
If you live in a place with hot and humid weather, you tend to sweat more and therefore, require more liquids. Even if you live in a high-altitude area, dehydration is still a risk.
If you are suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, or even just a fever, your body is losing more liquid than normal. This is another reason whydrinking a lot is always recommended while you are sick. You should also increase your liquid intake if you have a bladder infection or stones in the urinary tract.
Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding will also have higher fluid requirements in order to stay hydrated. Expectant mothers should try to drink 10 cups (or 2.4 Liters) of fluids every day while breastfeeding mamas should take in 13 (or 3.1 Liters) cups a day.
Meeting Your Fluid Requirements
Even if you are not a big fan of drinking water, you can still meet the amount of liquid required by your body. Simply choosing the right food and drinks can work towards your goal. For example, you should opt for water-rich fruits and vegetables like spinach and watermelon, and you will find yourself needing to drink less water. And while you can also reach for other kinds of drinks like coffee and soda, water is still the better option because it has no calories, it is cheap and it is available everywhere.
If you are, in general, not thirsty or your urine is light yellow or colorless, then you are probably meeting your daily fluid requirement. While healthy adult is a good idea, you should avoid drinking too much. When your fluid intake is too much, your kidneys cannot excrete the extra liquid and you will experience hyponatremia (when the sodium content of blood becomes diluted). This can be life-threatening.
Providing your body with the fluids it needs is important to keep it functioning normally. While there is no universal amount of water required by your body, you should keep yourself hydrated at all times while avoiding drinking too much as well. As with everything, moderation is always a great idea.