Water: Why is it Important to Drink?
Updated: Aug 27
How many times have you heard drink more water? I know that I have heard it a number of times, and always wondered how much water do I really need? Often I don't feel thirsty, and half the day goes by before I realize that I haven't drank anything since my morning smoothie. I admit that I have not loved drinking water. It has taken me a long time to incorporate it into my daily routine. The benefits that my body (which is composed of 60%water) receives out weigh the excuses I make not to drink water. I have found ways to reach my daily water intake and believe it or not I do notice a difference. Sometimes it just takes finding what is right for you and reminding yourself why hydrating the body is necessary.
The big question is how much water do you really need to drink daily?
I wish that I had the right answer for you but unfortunately this will vary for each individual. There are many factors like like lifestyle, health, daily activity, medications and climate that can affect your necessary water intake. We have all heard to drink 8 8oz glasses a day which is the equivalent to 1.89 litres of water. In doing research about who suggested it there is no concrete evidence that this is an appropriate guideline. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: about 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) of fluids for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) of fluids a day for women. The Office on Women's Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 litres) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 litres) of fluids a day. These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
When drinking water it is important to take in all the different ways that you are getting fluid intake in your diet. Many foods, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, pickles, squash (cooked), yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, broccoli (cooked), pears, pineapple have between 85-90 percent of water by weight. Beverages such as milk, nut milks, juice and herbal teas are composed mostly of water. Caffeinated drinks — such as coffee, tea and soda — can contribute to your daily water intake. Be aware that sugary drinks can cause weight gain, inflammation and increase risk for diabetes. Caffeine can give you the jitters and keep you from sleeping. Water is calorie-free, caffeine free, inexpensive and readily available without any additives or preservatives.
Why do I need to drink water daily?
All the cells, tissues, and organs in our bodies need water to preform and allow it to function properly. The Harvard Medical School Special Report listed these health benefits of drinking water:
brings nutrients and oxygen to your cells
flushes bacteria from your bladder
normalizes blood pressure
stabilizes the heartbeat
protects organs and tissues
regulates body temperature
maintainselectrolyte (sodium) balance.
What factors influence my water intake?
My lifestyle, health, and daily activity will be much different than yours and the amount of water I need will very from yours. Some of the following factors need to be taken into consideration for your daily consumption.
Exercise. Activities that make you sweat, and get your heart pumping will require you to drink more water because of the fluids you are losing. Drink water before, during and after a workout to keep your temperature balanced and to stay hydrated.
Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake which will have you increase your water intake.
Overall health. Our bodies lose fluids when we have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Medications can also require you to drink more water. Other conditions that may require increased fluids include bladder infections and urinary tract stones. To avoid kidney stones it is also important to drink fluids.
Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated.
How do I know if I need to drink more water?
The belief is drink when you are thirsty but sometimes that is a little to late so it is important to get ahead of the signals. Drink fluids throughout the day with meals and in between. We lose water with every day normal functions sweating, going to the washroom, crying, spitting and even breathing. Some symptoms you may experience of mild or moderate dehydration are:
Dry or sticky mouth
Not peeing very much
Dark yellow pee
Dry, cool skin
When you are hydrated most likely you won't feel thirsty, mouth will not feel dry and urine will be clear or light yellow. Sip slowly and in little increments at a time so that your body has time to absorb it. More is not always better and will lead to frequent urination as your body eliminates what it does not need.
Water is your friend and much needed in our daily lives to keep us going. If you are finding it difficult, check out the 10 Ways to stay hydrated for ideas to keep your water intake in check.
Make drinking water fun
If drinking plain water isn't your thing why not add a few ingredients and infuse the water in a healthy way that will have you drinking more water for sure. Cutting up fresh fruits (berries, citrus, melon, pineapple), Vegetables (cucumber, beets) Herbs (mint, basil, lemon balm, fennel), ginger are great examples of ingredients to infuse. The longer you infuse them the better they will taste. There are even neat water bottles you can find that have a strainer inside that you can add your favourite ingredients to for steeping and infusing. Another trick is to make ice cubes with berries and mint leaves inside that you can add to your water. Not only will it keep it cold but will add a nice flavour as well. If you want some ideas on infusing combination recipes check out my water infusion recipes post for inspiration.
Not all days are the same so listen to your body and remember that what is right for one person isn't always the way for others. Stay hydrated, refreshed and replenished.
How much water should you drink? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink Updated: March 25, 2020
Published: September, 2016