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How Much Water Should We Drink?

Posted on 01 July 2014

Water is essential for good health

Water is of major importance to all living organisms and, as we discovered in our previous blog post, Top 10 benefits of drinking water, water plays a vital role in all of our physiological processes, including; metabolism, toxins and waste removal, maintaining cell hydration, maintaining the body's electrochemical balance and so on. You can read them all in Dr. F. Batmanghelidj’s books.

 

So, the intake of water on a regular basis is essential to keep us in good health. However, how much water should we be drinking? You probably already know that you need to drink lots of water, and that doing so provides endless health benefits. However, you might not know how much water you really need. Moreover, how much is too much.

 

How much water should we be drinking?

To stay healthy and alert, it is important to replace the fluid we lose when we breathe, sweat or urinate. We get some fluid from our food but most comes from drinks.

 

The question though, always revolves around how much water we should be drinking. It is a simple question with no easy answer. Everyone has heard the advice, “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” Although the “8 by 8” rule is not supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it is easy to remember. Various studies have produced varying recommendations over the years.

 

The NHS Choices website states: “try to drink about six to eight glasses of water (or other beverages) a day to prevent dehydration.”

 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends that, under moderate activity and environmental conditions, adult women should drink about 2 litres of water per day, whilst adult men should drink about 2.5 litres of water per day.

 

According to an article that appeared in The Telegraph the government advice to drink six to eight glasses of water a day was described as nothing but “thoroughly debunked nonsense.”

 

The fact is, the amount of water a person needs to drink to avoid getting dehydrated will vary from person to person and on a range of factors, like how active you are, environmental conditions, your age, weight, your health status, and especially if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

 

What is important is that you try to drink often and enough throughout the day, so you rarely feel thirsty. Most importantly, “listen” to your body!

 

If you are concerned about your fluid intake, check with your doctor or a registered dietician who can help determine the right amount of water that your body requires.

 

Water vs. other fluids

For the metabolic functions to take place, the body strictly depends on water. Other fluids, including soft drinks, contain chemicals, which can affect the body’s chemistry.

 

The British Nutrition Foundation gives guidelines for the type of fluids to drink, and water is the only fluid, that they recommend drinking.

 

Although it is a great idea to keep water within reach at all times, you can also rely on other beverages such as milk and juice, which are composed mostly of water. Other beverages like beer, wine or caffeinated drinks – such as coffee or tea – can contribute, but these should only make up a minor portion of your daily fluid intake. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that all beverages containing caffeine are diuretic – after you drink them, you will eliminate more liquid than you have ingested.

 

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs to stay healthy and alert, make water your beverage of choice!

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