The water content in the body is about 60%. And water is constantly lost from the body through sweat and urine. You would need to take in an adequate amount of water to prevent dehydration. There are a lot of varying opinions on the right amount of water to take in per day. Most health authorities advise that you take about around 2 liters of water per day; it is easier to follow the 8-8 rule. You have to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water. Other health professionals recommended that you keep sipping on water periodically throughout the day, regardless of whether you are thirsty or not. Just as it is with almost everything, the amount of water you are to drink depends on a lot of individual factors, both internal and external.
How much water is optimal?
The truth is there is no exact amount of water that you need to drink per day. Everything depends on how your body works. You can try different experiments and pick out the one that works best for you. In some people, a lot of water intake just means that you will be making more trips to the bathroom, while others need it to function better. There are simple rules to follow to ensure that you do not experience dehydration. They include;
- Drink water when you are thirsty
- Stop drinking when you are no longer thirsty.
- Ensure you drink enough water when exercising or during high heat to make up for the water lost through sweat.
Your thirst is there for a reason
You must maintain water balance in your body as it directly impacts your survival. This is why there is a sophisticated system your body uses to regulate the time and how much water you should drink. You start feeling thirsty when the overall water content in your body drops below a particular level. This process is overseen by mechanisms that are identical to the breathing process, which means you do not need to think about it consciously. In a lot of people, the thirst instinct is so reliable that they do not need to worry about their intake of water. The 8-8 rule is arbitrary, and there is no science behind it, which means that your water intake can be increased due to certain situations.
A very crucial situation is when there is an increase in your sweating. This could be because of the hot weather or an exercise session. Ensure that you replace the fluid you lost with water if you are sweating a lot. You will also need to replenish electrolytes in addition to water if you are an athlete participating in long and intense workouts.
Older people have to monitor their intake of water consciously because the thirst mechanism does not work as well as it does when you are at a young age. Also, when suffering from diseases like diarrhea and vomiting, you must increase your water intake.
Do other fluids add to your total intake?
Plain water is just one of the many drinks that contribute to your water intake. There are some foods and drinks that also have an adequate effect. There is a popular myth that caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee do not help you hydrate since they are diuretics. There are a lot of studies that have shown that these beverages have a very weak diuretic effect. Also, water can be found in abundance in most foods. Foods like eggs, fish, meat, and also vegetables and fruits have substantial amounts of water. In addition to that, your fluid balance can be maintained with water-rich foods and tea or coffee.
Does increased intake of water prevent health problems?
Certain health conditions respond better when you increase your intake of water. Some of these conditions include;
Acne and skin hydration: Many anecdotal reports have shown that water can be very effective in hydrating the skin and reducing acne. However, more research needs to be made to cement this claim.
Kidney stones: Your risk of kidney stones is decreased when you actively take in more water.
Cancer: Recent research has shown that people who take in a lot of water daily have a lower chance of having colorectal or bladder cancer. More studies are still needed to prove this.
Constipation: A very common problem, which is constipation, can be resolved by increasing your intake of water.