Are you drinking enough water?
Approximately 60% of a human’s body weight is composed of water. Depriving the body of the essential fluids that it needs can be detrimental to your overall health and well-being.
Why is water important?
Every system in your body needs water to survive. Not only do your liver and kidneys depend on water to do their job, but water flushes toxins from your organs, regulates your body temperature, acts as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord, carries nutrients to your cells, lubricates your joints and aids the digestion process. Although your body could last weeks without food, survival time is only 3-4 days without water.
How much water should you drink?
The standard guideline has always been 8 glasses of water per day but this depends on factors such as your gender, age, activity level, and what climate you live in. It is recommended for men to drink 14-16 cups, for women to drink 10-12 cups and for children and teens to drink 6-8 cups of fluid per day. A woman should increase her water intake if she’s pregnant or breastfeeding. You will also need to up your intake if you are outside on a hot day and are heavily perspiring, or if you come down with an illness and are vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or running a fever. You naturally lose water every day through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements so replenishing your fluids is essential.
How do you get enough fluids?
H2O can come from many sources but drinking water is the best source of getting the fluids that you need. Not an avid water drinker? Don’t worry. 20% of our water intake comes from solid foods and broth-based soup, tea, coffee and milk also count towards your daily fluid intake. Fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes, tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach, starfruit, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, baby carrots, cantaloupe, watermelon, celery and iceberg lettuce are an effective source of hydration as they contain more than 90% water.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration means that more water is exiting your body than is entering it. If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, you can become dehydrated.
What are the signs of dehydration?
One of the best ways to see if you are dehydrated is to check the color of your urine in the morning. If your urine looks dark or more like apple juice than lemonade, you’re dehydrated. Your urine should be clear or light yellow.
Other effects of dehydration include:
- kidney stones
- weight gain (mistake thirst for hunger)
- decline in short-term memory and mental performance
- hard bowel movements
- muscle cramps
- heat stroke
- bladder infections
- dry skin
- weakened immune system
- less frequent urination
- extreme thirst
- migraines or headaches
- moodiness or anxiousness
- low quality of sleep
In infants and young children, signs of dehydration might appear as irritability or lethargy. You might notice a lack of tears when crying, a decrease in wet diapers, a dry mouth and tongue, or you might see that the soft spot on top of the head is shrinking.
Does drinking water affect my skin?
Your skin is your body’s largest and fastest-growing organ. Drinking water can give your skin a radiant and healthy glow and can improve complexion. Staying hydrated can also help conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Dehydrated skin can become dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to acne, wrinkles and fine lines.
Can you drink too much water?
If you are a healthy individual who has a normal diet and lifestyle, it would be rare to regularly consume too much water. If you have a condition such as heart disease or thyroid disease, experience kidney or liver issues, or take medications that make you retain water, you may need to limit your fluid intake, but it’s best to consult with your doctor before changing your regimen.
Everyone is at risk for dehydration and because water is such a vital part of the human body, it’s important to replace fluids throughout the day and pay attention to your body’s needs.