How Much Water Do We Really Need To Be Drinking?
There are a variety of reasons to drink plenty of water each day.
Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, cleans out the body, and promotes healing processes. Substituting water for beverages high in calories can also help control weight.
Follow the steps below to make sure you’re getting enough of this most basic necessity:
- Drink water before, with and after every meal; it will help you to prevent overeating and obesity.
- Eat slowly, drink water and you will get satisfied with less food. Determine how much water you need.
- You’ve probably heard the “8 by 8″ rule – drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (2 quarts, 1.8 liters) – but the amount of water a person needs varies depending on his or her weight, activity level and climate.
- Another way to determine your specific recommended water intake is to divide your weight (in pounds) by two. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., strive to drink 75 ounces of water daily. For those who use the Metric system, divide your weight (in kilograms) by 30 (ex. somebody weighing 70 kg is going to need 2.3 liters per day). Keep in mind that these recommended intake numbers are controversial and some experts believe they are a gross exaggeration. See “warnings” below for more information.
- Measure your daily intake of water. Do this for a few days. If you find that you’re drinking less than the recommended quantity, try some of the following tips:
Learn to acquire a taste for water. Carry water with you everywhere in a bottle or other container.
Keep a glass or cup of water next to you whenever you’ll be sitting down for a long time, such as when you’re at your desk. Drink from it regularly as you’re working.
Try wearing a digital watch that beeps at the beginning of each hour. Use that as a reminder to pour yourself a glass of water. Vow to drink that water before the next beep. If you drink only one small (6 ounce or 180 ml) cup per hour, you’ll have consumed 48 ounces (1.4 liters) by the end of an 8-hour workday.
You may find that tap water leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Add a lemon or lime to your water. This makes it taste better and makes you want to drink more of it. Be careful not to make it too sour; just a splash of sourness should do the trick. Cucumber slices can also be added to a glass of water. Some mint leaves can be added to a pitcher of water which should be allowed to sit overnight.
The above suggestions are cheap alternatives to the bottled flavored water. If you do choose bottled flavored water, check the ingredients, as these are likely closer in form to lemon- or limeade than they are to water.
- Eat water rich foods like watermelon which is 92% water by weight. Blend up some seedless fresh watermelon flesh with some ice and place a few sprigs of mint (optional) – one of the most refreshing drinks, especially for the summertime.
Cranberry juice is also another option which has a bitter taste. Patients suffering from urinary infection caused by insufficient intake of water should drink cranberry juice and eat watermelon if not plain water every day.
- A tomato is 95% water. An egg is about 74% water. Always drink water before with and after your meals it will help you eat slowly and prevent overeating. Keep water cold if it tastes better for you. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator at home. Add ice or freeze water in a sports bottle before taking it with you, it will eventually melt and stay cold. Bear in mind that cold water takes energy for your body to regulate the temperature, and does burn some calories.
- Room temperature water is better if you’re dehydrated. Your body can absorb the room temperature water immediately, instead of the body having to raise the temperature of the water first in order to process it.
- Climate can drastically change how much water you need. If you find yourself outside on a hot day you should drink more water to counteract the fluids you lose when you sweat. This not only keeps your body hydrated, it can prevent heat-related illness. Just as important (but often overlooked) is consuming enough fluids in cold & wet conditions.
The human body works much more efficiently (including heating and cooling) when properly hydrated. Inadequate water intake affects the brain’s function first, which can become very dangerous (especially in extreme conditions). Purchase a bottle the size of your water goal. Purchase a water bottle that holds the amount of water you wish to drink each day. Try to drink the water slowly throughout the day. If you don’t drink it all, don’t try to chug it at the end of the day. This will allow you to easily see how much water you are consuming.
Tip: Herbal tea, seltzer water and soup broth can count as part of the daily water intake. Make refreshing flavored water by filling a pitcher with filtered or tap water and then adding a few slices of citrus fruit, or a tea ball with herbs such as peppermint. Refrigerate for 4-8 hrs. Remove fruit slices or herbs, so the flavor doesn’t get too strong.
Make sure you always have a glass of water at the table for every meal, you will be satisfied with less food. If your urine is clear, you’re drinking enough water.
Warning: Increasing your water intake may cause you to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. To avoid this, you may want to stop drinking water a few hours before bedtime. If you live in a place with a lot of heat (i.e. Arizona) you will have to drink extra water.
If you plan on doing heavy prolonged exercise, be sure to alternate sports drinks with regular water to keep your electrolytes in balance. Three glasses of water to one glass of a typical sports drink is ideal if you rely on sports drinks for electrolytes during very heavy prolonged exercise, such as a marathon. Gatorade and other sugary electrolyte drinks also contain acetic acid which can increase rates of tooth decay.
It is not recommended that you reuse plastic water bottles that are intended for one time use, specifically number one plastics. These bottles leach chemicals into your water after multiple uses. The bottle, if not properly cleaned, may harbor bacteria from your mouth. If you wish to always have water around, use a glass or aluminum water bottle. Glass Bottles or stainless steel canteens are now more favorable due to the risk of chemical leaching when using plastic products.
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