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There are many things that we want in life, but only a few things that we actually need. Water is one of those things that we need for survival. We can only live a few days without it. If our bodies don’t get enough water, they won’t function properly. The real question is: How much water do we need? But first, let’s answer a couple other questions.
Why do we need water?
Water makes up almost 2/3rd of our body weight and is vital for the function of every system in our body. Here are just some of the essential functions that water plays a key role in:
- Helps to absorb and digest minerals and nutrients: Water carries vital nutrients to our cells making it accessible for our bodies to use.
- Detoxifies liver and kidney: Water flushes toxins out of the organs helping to carry waste out of the body.
- Prevents constipation: Water works alongside fiber to help achieve proper digestion.
- Keeps tissues moist: Water is necessary to keep the tissues of the eyes, nose, ears and mouth moist, all of which is important.
Where do we get water from?
Most people think that we need to get all the water we need by drinking glass after glass of water all day long. While water is the best source (no surprise there), we don’t need to get all our fluids through drinking water alone. There are other ways to replenish the lost water, such as:
- Eating foods rich in water content: For those of you who don’t know, about 20% of the water we take in comes from the foods that we eat. Many fruits and vegetables contain enormous amounts of water, such as celery, tomatoes, grapefruit and watermelons. So, when you have juice dribbling down your face when you are eating a plum, you can blame the water content of the fruit for that.
- Drinking Beverages: About 80% of the water comes from the drinks that we consume. Of course the best drink of all is water, but juice or milk will also work. However, be aware that alcoholic drinks and highly caffeinated beverages such as coffee and energy drinks have a diuretic effect (makes our body eliminate more water) and are not the best choices for replacing lost water.
How much water do we need?
Our bodies can lose two and a half to three quarts of water everyday. This water is lost through breathing, sweating, urination and bowel movements. To maintain normal bodily functions we need to replace this lost water daily, otherwise we will become dehydrated.
Dehydration is when you don’t have enough water in your body to maintain normal bodily functions. Mild dehydration can result in you feeling tired, having less energy, having difficulty concentrating, headaches and dizziness.
There are many different approaches to addressing how much fluid a person needs in a day. The recommendation that most of us have heard is the eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day guideline. Of course if you are exercising, live in a hot or humid area, have an exceptionally warm house, have a medical condition, are pregnant or breast feeding, you will need to consume more fluids.
According to the Mayo Clinic the key is, “If you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.” You don’t have to measure the urine though. If the color of the urine is clear or a relatively pale yellow, you should be fine. If you’re having to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes, you’re probably drinking too much.
So, make sure that you drink regularly throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. Don’t wait until you are dying of thirst. By then, it is too late. You are already dehydrated. Water is important for your overall well-being and it’s easy and cheap to find. So, drink water for your health and drink often!