Water and Your Body
Your body is approximately 60 percent water, so staying hydrated is incredibly important for your health. Most people recognize the importance of drinking enough water daily, but few actually know how much water they should be drinking. So, how much is enough? A few simple guidelines will help you find the answer.
Why Stay Hydrated?
Getting the right amount of water promotes a healthy body from the inside out. Everything from your hair and skin to your brain and other organs operate better when you are well hydrated. In fact, water is necessary for most processes in your body, from helping your organs and cells operate, to protecting your tissues and regulating your body temperature. Besides improving your bodily functions, water can also improve your metabolism and help manage your weight. Drinking water 30 minutes before each meal with help you feel fuller, eat less calories, and digest food more easily.
Dehydration: How it Affects Your Body
Dehydration can negatively impact both your mental and physical well-being. A study conducted on a group of women showed that even mild dehydration impaired brain function and decreased the participants’ mental performance. In addition to affecting your cognitive functions, chronic dehydration can also slow you down physically. When you don’t get enough water, you put yourself at risk of developing certain cancers, kidney stones, and other health issues such as headaches, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, and fatigue. Therefore, it’s vital that you drink the right amount of water daily.
Calculating Your Daily Water Intake
So, how much water should you drink per day? It depends. Factors like your weight, activity level, and even your gender can affect your recommended water intake. While everybody is different, the general recommendation for adults is to drink eight 8 oz cups of water per day, or 64 ounces of water daily. Although this guideline works for most people, athletes, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and individuals with certain health conditions may need to adjust their water consumption.
For example, when you exercise you can lose a significant amount of water through sweat. You also lose valuable vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. As a result, people who are athletes or who live in hot climates should always drink water after sweating to avoid the effects of dehydration. Likewise, pregnant women and women who breastfeed should drink an additional 10-20 oz of water each day to maintain their hydration levels. If you don’t fit into either of these categories you should experiment to find what works best for you. Your body knows what it needs, so listen to it. Overall, drink when you are thirsty, be mindful, and give your body what it needs, when it needs it.
Hydration: More Than Just Water
If carrying around bottles and forcing down 64 oz a day isn’t for you, try getting your water from food. Most fruits and vegetables have a high water composition, which means you can get a good portion of your daily water just from eating certain foods. Fruits like watermelon, pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, and strawberries are made up of over 85% water. Vegetables like celery, lettuce, zucchini, and cucumbers have a high water content as well. Finally, other drinks, especially tea, fruit juice, coconut water and skim milk are good alternatives to water that can help you stay hydrated and provide essential vitamins and nutrients at the same time.
The Final Consensus
At the end of the day, there is no set amount of water you should drink daily. However, most health professionals recommend drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. If counting cups and ounces isn’t practical for you, try keeping a water bottle handy and sip whenever you feel thirsty, or try to eat your fluids whenever possible. Overall, staying hydrated is very important, so do what works best for you to keep your body running smoothly.
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– 19 Water-Rich Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated