Water is essential for good health and energy levels, but how much should we be drinking every day?
Various studies have produced different results over the past few years, and with no single formula that fits everyone, the answer does vary from person to person, depending on your health levels, where you live, age and many more factors.
The human body is made up of 60% water and so your body depends on it in order to survive. Every single cell in your body needs water in order to work. It helps to wash out waste and regulate bowel movements, keep temperature levels normal, helps with joint movements, as well as many other things. Lack of water can very quickly lead to dehydration, and even mild dehydration can drain energy levels and make you feel extremely lethargic.
Each and every second of every day, you lose water through breathing, perspiration and urine, so in order to keep this replenished, you must continue to eat and drink throughout the day.
The average man needs about 3.7 litres of fluids a day, and women are said to need about 2.7 litres, with most of this coming from drinks, and 20% coming from the food that you eat.
Most people can get by each day from just drinking when they feel thirsty – sometimes drinking much less than the recommended intake, and sometimes much more depending on external factors.
Exercise – You tend to lose extra water through sweat by participating in exercise, and so you need to drink more to make up for it. You will usually do this naturally as you should notice that you feel much thirstier, but ensuring that you take a big gulp of water before and after exercise should help you stay awake and energised for the rest of the day.
Environment – If it’s hotter than usual outside, dehydration will occur much faster, and again you will notice yourself reaching for more drinks throughout the day.
Pregnancy – Women that are pregnant will need additional liquids in order to accommodate for the extra body that they are caring for. Similarly, when breast-feeding, women tend to feel much thirstier because they are losing lots of liquid with every feed.
Illness – many illnesses require you to drink much more water in order to recover quicker. Vomiting and diarrhoea cause very rapid dehydration, and so if you don’t replace the water that is lost in this period you will feel much worse. Bladder and urinary tract infections will also require more liquid intake.
Fruits and vegetables will provide quite a big portion of what your body needs in order to continue to function properly, so you don’t need to just rely on what you drink in order to stay hydrated.
Watermelon, spinach and cucumber are amongst some of the most hydrating foods you can eat if you’re getting fed up of drinking just water, and can be eaten as a snack if you’re trying to lose weight as they will make you feel full without packing on the calories.
Energy and sports drinks should only be consumed if you’ve undergone some intensive exercise and will not benefit you if you drink them day-to-day due to their high caffeine and electrolyte content.
It’s a good idea to drink water with every meal and try to drink in between mealtimes too in order to stay adequately hydrated. If you’re feeling hungry in between, try having a glass of water first, as the body often confuses thirst with hunger!
Try to stick to herbal teas and black coffee if you prefer hot drinks, as these are the healthier options for losing weight.
Let us know what you do to stay hydrated throughout the day in the comments below!