27 Jan How Much Water Should You Drink A Day?

How much water do you need to drink each day?  This seems to be a highly debatable question that comes up quite often.  Let me shed some light on the background and facts for what you need to know about daily water consumption.

Water makes up a majority of our total bodyweight.  Nearly 60% of your body is made up of water and our water content is dependent on the body composition we have because different cells carry different amounts of water.  For example, muscle contains about 75% water and fat contains significantly less at 25%.

Water in our bodies has many functions such as:

  • acting as a solvent (dissolving other solids and liquids) and transporter (of dissolved chemicals)
  • acting as a lubricant (for joints and other tissues)
  • a catalyst (for chemical reactions in our bodies)
  • a temperature regulator (for example, when we sweat)
  • and as a mineral source (water contains several important minerals such as flouride, calcium, and magnesium).

So, the question is, how much do you really need?  Well, there are factors that can influence this, of course. Factors such as climate, physical activity, sweat rate, and body size are all examples.  Understand this, thirst is actually a poor indicator of your hydration status.  Usually, thirst isn’t perceived until 1-2% of your bodyweight is lost!

Another point to remember about water consumption is that you also get water from food.  Depending on the types of foods you eat, you may possibly get up to 1L of water (4 cups) a day.  Most of the research on how much water to drink shows that a safe, general recommendation for daily fluid intake is 3L of fluid (or 12 cups of water). So, if 1L is coming from your food, that leaves 2L (8 cups) to be consumed.  Not bad.

Now remember, these are general guidelines and will depend on other factors mentioned (body size, climate, etc.).  Larger people will require more and smaller people may require less.  More exercise and hotter temperature climate may mean more consumption, possibly up to an additional 500mL per day (2 cups).  For most people, 2L (8 cups) per day is sufficient to ensure proper hydration status, in addition to the water that is consumed with your food.

Here’s a simple tip to know if you’re drinking enough water per day.  If you’re urine color is very light colored (slightly yellow) you’re properly hydrated, but if the color is darker yellow or brown in color, you need to consume more water.  The lighter the color, the more improved your hydration status, simple as that.

So, your water intake comes from food and water intake and is dependent on several factors, but between 2 and 3 L (8 to 12 cups or water) is a good general guideline to maintain proper hydration and prevent excess water losses in your body. Adequate water consumption is essential for many physiological functions, so it’s important to maintain hydration status for optimal health and performance, without a doubt.


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